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Bear cub in rehab after people seen pulling it from tree for pictures

The alarming incident was caught on camera, showing the young bear being ripped from the tree and later dropped.
Bear cub in rehab after people seen pulling it from tree for pictures
Posted at 12:00 AM, Apr 19, 2024

A small black bear cub is in rehab after a group of people pulled it from a tree to take pictures with it.

The alarming incident was caught on camera by onlookers outside of an apartment complex in Asheville, North Carolina. Wildlife experts were angered by the incident.

In the video, the group is seen disturbing two very young black bears on a tree as they try to rip them from the branches. When one of the cubs is successfully pulled down, a member of the group is seen holding the cub and posing for pictures with it. She drops the bear, and a shriek is heard.

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission said they were contacted by the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department about the group of people harassing the baby bears, and were told that a cub bit one of the people. 

The organization said one of the cubs was later found in a retention pond. It was in poor condition and taken to a licensed cub rehabilitation facility.  

“The cub’s condition is likely a result of the unnecessary and irresponsible actions of the people involved,” Game Mammals and Surveys Supervisor Colleen Olfenbuttel said in a press release. 

NCWRC’s BearWise Coordinator Ashley Hobbs captured the cub. 

“The cub appeared to be lethargic and frightened. It looked to be favoring one of its front paws and was wet and shivering,” Hobbs said in a press release. 

Hobbs and others searched for the second cub but it could not be found.  “Our hope is it was able to reunite with the mother because it would not survive on its own at this young age,” Mountain Operations Supervisor James Tomberlin said in a press release. 

As for the cub in rehab, it is being cared for by an experienced cub rehabilitator with the hope of being released back into the wild later this year, NCWRC said. 

Wildlife experts urge people never to approach or handle bear cubs. 

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