ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- A local bear rescue organization is calling on the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC) to open a bear rehabilitation center in the mountains after the Asheville Police Department says officers were left with no option but to put down a juvenile bear after it was hit by a vehicle Saturday evening, June 10, along I-240 in Asheville.
"We need a badly needed bear rehab," said Jody Williams, with Help Asheville Bears (HAB).
The incident occurred along I-240 East, near Montford Avenue and Haywood Street exit.
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Asheville Police Department Lt. Mike McClanahan told News 13 they first received a call about an injured animal around 4 p.m.
"Unfortunately, in this circumstance, the injuries were so severe the animal wasn't going to survive, and it was more of a danger to itself and the general public," said McClanahan.
An NC Wildlife Commission biologist said the bear's quality of life and the location of the accident - left them with no option but to put down the bear.
"It's unfortunate, but that is what they have to do because there is no bear rehab," said Williams.
Williams said situations like this have become an all too common occurrence in the mountains with a growing bear population.
In November 2020, HAB wrote to the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission to request that a black bear rehabilitation center be created in Asheville.
"You know, you got lots of people here that care and want to do right by these bears," said Williams.
In December 2020, the Commission responded the following month, stating, "Current rules do not allow for the rehabilitation of adult black bears."
I implore them, take another look," Williams said, "because there's a lot of people out here that would really love to help and volunteer and donate and see the best bear rehab in the world built right here in Asheville, North Carolina, and these beautiful mountains. News 13 has reached out to NCWRC for comment but had not heard back by the time this article was published.
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