Update on Orphaned Bear Cub Rescued in Viral Video Incident

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Recent developments have been shared regarding an orphaned bear cub who became the subject of widespread attention following a viral video. This young cub, along with a sibling, was rescued from a precarious situation atop a tree in Asheville, North Carolina, on April 16. The video, which quickly spread across the internet, depicted a group of individuals extracting the cubs for the purpose of taking photographs. Unfortunately, when officials from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission arrived at the scene, they found that one of the cubs had already disappeared.

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When officials from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission arrived on the scene, they discovered that one of the cubs had already vanished. The other cub, now receiving rehabilitation, was found to be in poor health, displaying signs of lethargy, a limp, and a notably low body temperature.

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Savannah Trantham, the Executive Director of the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, shared insights into the cub’s recovery process. “The cub underwent a critical adjustment period upon arrival at our center. After stabilizing, it was paired with another recently arrived orphaned cub. Both cubs have shown remarkable progress, actively engaging with each other and their environment, which is a positive sign of their ongoing recovery,” Trantham explained.

The Appalachian Wildlife Refuge has been instrumental in rescuing and rehabilitating dozens of bear cubs since 2020. The facility is designed to mimic the natural habitats of these animals, providing them with a secluded, tranquil environment away from the facility’s main operations. This setup helps in nurturing the cubs in a setting that prepares them for eventual release back into the wild.

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The financial burden of caring for these cubs is significant. Trantham elaborated on the costs involved, “Rehabilitating a single cub to a healthy state can cost over $3,000. Young cubs require a specialized diet which includes formulas, dry foods, fresh produce, and whole prey items, pushing their food bills alone to between $2,000 and $3,000. Annually, we spend approximately $20,000 to $30,000 on food, medical care, habitat maintenance, and enrichment for the cubs we raise.”


Access to the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is restricted to the public to minimize human interaction with the animals, ensuring the cubs develop necessary survival instincts without excessive human contact. A small, specialized team works closely with the cubs to maintain their wild nature while providing the necessary care and rehabilitation.

The team at the refuge is hopeful and plans to release the cubs back into the wild in the fall. “Our ultimate goal is to see wildlife thrive in their natural habitats, raised by their mothers. However, when intervention is necessary, we dedicate every resource at our disposal to provide these animals a fighting chance for survival,” stated Trantham.

Through diligent care and rehabilitation efforts, the story of these bear cubs underscores the vital role of wildlife conservation organizations in protecting and preserving vulnerable species for future generations.

Click the video below to watch this incredible story!

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