23 April 2022
A viral video of a bear wandering through downtown Asheville has been shared thousands of times on social media
The video, taken by Cari Barcas, shows the bear sauntering past Club Asheville, beneath signs reading “Wine, live music, mimosas” and “Local beer.”
Barcas overlaid the jaunty tune of “Bear Necessities” over the original video – which WRAL News had to change due to copyright restrictions – and shows people staring out street windows as a police officer walks alongside the bear. The bear appears to be wearing a tracking collar around its neck.
“Walked up on this scene while leaving my office in downtown Asheville,” wrote Barcas. “Hope the police escort helped this sweet baby get home safe!”
Other videos of the bear in downtown also began picking up traction online, with other perspectives showing the bear seeming to be unafraid of people, walking very close to passersby and even a dog. However, although the bear seemed willing to go near other people and animals, the bear also seemed nervous of the passing traffic, even rearing up to hug a tree as a bus passed by.
The second video prompted comments of concern, as people worried the bear seemed afraid and unable to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Fortunately, a police officer was able to step in and help ‘guide’ the bear to safety.
After Barcas’ post went viral, she updated it to include links to organizations that work locally to support the health and wellbeing of the bear population in the mountains.
“Rapid local development is pushing bears out of their natural habitats, so it’s our responsibility to find ways to nurture and coexist with these beautiful creatures,” she wrote.
She linked to:
Especially in light of today being Earth Day, Barcas encourages people to look into these resources to learn tips for becoming responsible stewards to the local bear population. She hopes the video can be used to educate and inspire others.
“Given the amount of exposure the video has been getting, I am hoping to use this as a teachable moment that raises awareness for some of the underlying issues affecting our beloved bear population here in the mountains.”
Barcas is the associate director of Green Built Alliance, an organization focused on sustainable living, green building and climate justice.