Is that a bear cub wearing a space helmet? When an Asheville resident spotted this unusual sight one evening, they contacted the N.C. Wildlife Commission to report their concern.
WNC Wildlife Biologist Justin McVey, who’s based in Haywood County, sprung into action. McVey and other staff spent the next two days looking for the bear, employing public outreach to track its location. Residents in the North Asheville area reported their sightings of the cub, which apparently had gotten a clear plastic jug stuck on its head.
“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.”
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 thepublic 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,” 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 call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401.