BUNCOMBE COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) — A disturbing scene was caught on camera Tuesday afternoon: a group of people pulling bear cubs out of a tree near a Buncombe County apartment complex, all for a few selfies.

In a video shared with News 13, the group can be seen pulling the cubs from a tree, then holding one of the bears and taking a selfie. The person who took the video told News 13 she witnessed the incident at Berrington Village Apartments.

One of the individuals can then be seen in the video dropping the cub, followed by the cub running and trying to get back over the fence.

Ashley Hobbs, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission special projects biologist, said the video was reported to the commission on Tuesday evening. Authorities were called in to intervene.

“An apartment complex in the Fairview area that officer did ask me to assist him in response to that, so I did get on site and I saw the cub,” she said.

She described the cub as being very wet and cold and had been alone for quite some time.

While multiple cubs are seen in the video, Hobbs said when she arrived on scene there was only one cub.

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

“We did see the video in response to the bear being left alone,” Hobbs said. “We do think that the bear probably had a pretty traumatic experience.”

She expressed how it’s pretty traumatic for a cub to be pulled out of a tree like that.

Thankfully, the bear was OK and is currently in a rehab facility. It will eventually be released back into the wild.

“We did follow up with the people who pulled the bear out of the tree,” Hobbs said. “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.”

Hobbs said she felt frustrated when she watched the video because of how often she preaches about the need to coexist with these animals and to give them the space they need.

“It is frustrating to see people be that irresponsible around wildlife because it is a blessing that we get to live in the mountains around these creatures,” she said.

Hobbs wasn’t the only one who felt that frustration, as it was also echoed by the founder of Help Asheville Bears, Jody Williams.

He expressed how when he watched that video it gave him extreme anxiety and that he felt bad for the cubs and felt bad for the ignorance of those people.

“All for a selfie, all for a selfie,” he said.

Williams added that people need to become more educated and realize that you don’t grab bear cubs.

“It’s just ignorance, total selfishness, this is not what we talk about when we talk about coexisting,” he expressed.

He added that this is a prime example of exactly what not to do.

Hobbs said that it’s pretty rare to see people blatantly intervene with wildlife like this, and she’s hopeful that this entire situation can be used as an educational moment.

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