"The bear probably had a pretty traumatic experience" – disturbing video shows people hauling cub out of tree for selfies

Mother black bear and two cubs in tree
One of the cubs is recovering in rehab and is expected to be released into the wild (Image credit: Getty Images)

Disturbing footage has emerged out of North Carolina showing a group of people hauling a tiny bear cub out of a tree before posing for selfies with it. The story comes just a week after we reported on a bandana-wearing hiker using a bison as a photo prop in Yellowstone National Park.

The video, which you can watch below, was shot by a resident of Buncombe County apartment complex and shared by Fox Nashville on X. It shows a group of people pulling one cub out of a tree while a second struggles to avoid their clutches. One woman then turns to her friend to get a photo of herself holding the cub.

In the clip, which you can watch below, the woman can be seen dropping the bear cub on the ground which then runs along the edge of a fence trying to find a way back to its family while women chases it.

According to reporting by ABC 13 News, biologist Ashley Hobbs arrived on the scene to find just one cub remaining, which she described as cold and wet.

"We do think that the bear probably had a pretty traumatic experience," she says, adding that she found the whole incident "frustrating."

Hobbs explains that it’s not uncommon at this time of year for a female to drop their cubs off in a safe tree and then come back.

The bear cub is currently in a rehab facility and will eventually be released back into the wild.

Hobbs says she was able to speak the offenders about how their behavior could impact the cub.

"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."

Cure bear cub rescued in Vermont woods

Handling a bear cub could result in the bear being abandoned by its mother (Image credit: Vermont Fish & Wildlife / Facebook)

Bear safety

In the spring, bears are emerging from torpor with their young and with the weather improving and more people outdoors, human/bear interactions are likely to increase. However, it is vital to give bears a wide berth and avoid getting close to their cubs, no matter how cute they are. 

Handling a bear cub, or even getting too close, could result in the bear being abandoned by its mother or a protective mother attacking you. Let wildlife stay wild, and read our article on what to do if you meet a bear (step one: don't take a selfie with it).

Julia Clarke

Julia Clarke is a staff writer for Advnture.com and the author of the book Restorative Yoga for Beginners. She loves to explore mountains on foot, bike, skis and belay and then recover on the the yoga mat. Julia graduated with a degree in journalism in 2004 and spent eight years working as a radio presenter in Kansas City, Vermont, Boston and New York City before discovering the joys of the Rocky Mountains. She then detoured west to Colorado and enjoyed 11 years teaching yoga in Vail before returning to her hometown of Glasgow, Scotland in 2020 to focus on family and writing.