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Some NC residents concerned after seeing black bears with missing limbs

Black bear (Stock image/Getty Images)

BUNCOMBE COUNTY, N.C. (WLOS) — An adult black bear missing much of her front left leg was recently spotted in Buncombe County.

A viewer noticed it, and alerted News 13 that a group has formed to save the animals from severe injury.

They believe what viewers see in the video is alarming.

The sightings of this and other bears missing limbs were brought to light by the organizers of Help Asheville Bears, claiming at least seven confirmed cases of injured local bears.

The group says most are in the Arden area, where is where the bear in the video was seen.

A state wildlife biologist tells the story of this adult female and her cubs, nosing around a yard, captured by a surveillance camera.

“We have more bears,” said Justin McVey of the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. “Our population has been increasing.”
As the mom turns to profile, you can see she’s missing a good portion of her left front leg.

It’s not slowing her down. But at some point, something did.

“Bears get hit by cars all the time, and unfortunately bears with three legs is not uncommon,” McVey told us. “They adapt very well, and they can live a successful life, even with just three legs.”

Help Asheville Bears sees it differently, its Facebook page showing still photos of what are said to be other bears missing limbs.

The group even offers a reward for information leading to anyone who may be trapping.

“Traps that are used today would not pull a foot or a leg off,” McVey said.

And the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission biologist ays there’s been no word of trappers in the area.

He says bears are resilient. Some are injured and die, but many do not.

“They will generally kind of move away from people, get to a quiet place, rest and recuperate. Generally, those wounds will heal on their own, and then they’re able to go out and live a normal life.”

So if you see a bear missing a leg or foot, what should you do?

“The bear’s just fine, it’s able to move, it’s able to eat, it looks healthy, just leave it,” McVey said. “The best they can do is leave it alone, and make sure you’re not feeding that bear, intentionally or unintentionally.”

A representative from Help Asheville Bears says the group would like to gather more information before participating in our coverage of this story.

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