‘Idiots’ pull bear cubs from trees for selfies; investigation underway

An incident in which a group of irresponsible people pulled black bear cubs out of the trees to take selfies is under investigation, according to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Rachel Staudt took video of the incident that occurred Tuesday afternoon in Buncombe County, North Carolina, near an apartment complex and shared it with WLOS.

One individual can be seen dropping the cub, which frantically scrambled along the fence line, looking for a way back to safety.

Authorities were called to the scene where N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission special projects biologist Ashley Hobbs found one cub very wet and cold, and “probably had a pretty traumatic experience.”

The cub was taken to a rehabilitation center where it will eventually be released back into the wild, if possible. The second cub was nowhere to be seen, and possibly reunited with the mother bear.

Hobbs said it is not uncommon during this time of year for a female to drop their cubs off in a safe tree and come back for them later.

The people who did this are being called “idiots,” among other things, on social media, and many are calling on them to be arrested and charged.

“We did follow up with the people who pulled the bear out of the tree,” Hobbs told WLOS. “We did confront them on site that day and let them know how irresponsible and potentially deadly it could be for that cub to be separated from its mom, especially ripped out of a tree like that.”

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission filled in more of the story in a Facebook post Thursday. It stated that when staff arrived, they were told both cubs had escaped after a cub bit one of the people. One of the cubs was found in a retention pond and the other had not been located.

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

“This incident remains an active investigation,” the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission stated.

Story originally appeared on For The Win