Bear cub in distress found and successfully released into the wild

HAPPY ENDING: Wildlife biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission removed the plastic jug from the bear cub's head and released her into the wild. Image courtesy of NCWRC

Press release from N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Wildlife biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are praising Asheville residents for helping them locate a distressed female bear cub wandering North Asheville with a clear container stuck on her head.

District Biologist Justin McVey received the initial report late Monday night that a bear cub was seen with a jug on its head, likely a result from trash. McVey and staff spent the next two days looking for the bear, and the Wildlife Commission employed public outreach to identify its location.

“Thanks to direct calls to our biologists and messages in response to our agency’s NextDoor post, Asheville residents led us directly to the cub,” said McVey. “We were able to safely dart and anesthetize the bear, remove the jug from her head and perform a health check. She was in great health, with no injuries or lacerations, and immediately relocated to a remote area in western North Carolina.”

The outcome could have been much different if the people of Asheville hadn’t contacted the Wildlife Commission to locate the distressed bear cub.

Upon release, McVey noted the cub was feisty and ready to go, which is a great sign. The outcome could have been much different if the people of Asheville hadn’t worked directly with the Wildlife Commission to locate the bear.

“Thanks to everyone who helped our staff quickly respond to this cub in distress. Our staff are trained specifically for these types of situations. It’s a huge help when folks contact us directly; it helps us respond quickly,” said McVey.

If you see an injured bear or suspect an orphaned cub, please don’t approach the bear. Instead leave it alone, note the location, and contact your local Wildlife Commission District Biologist or call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To learn more about how to live responsibly with bears, including tips about how to properly secure trash, visit

About the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission

Since 1947, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state’s fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities.

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