Bear cub euthanized after being rescued from tree in Roanoke’s Market Square

Bear cub rescue in Downtown Roanoke (WSLS)


A bear cub that was rescued from a tree in downtown Roanoke on Monday night has been euthanized, according to the Virginia Dept. of Wildlife Resources (DWR).

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Officials said the bear was removed from the tree without any problems.

[Wildlife Resources biologist discusses decision to euthanize Roanoke bear]

Once the bear was removed safely, it was assessed and DWR officials decided the “best path forward was to humanely euthanize him due to his current health conditions. He was unable to thrive in the wild.”

DWR released the following statement:

The bear was euthanized after careful evaluation by biologists on site who consulted with our bear program leads. The bear was not a good candidate for release or rehabilitation for two primary reasons: (1) it was severely underweight for its age and unlikely to thrive or survive, and (2) it was likely habituated to people and human food sources making it more likely to have conflicts with people if released. This bear was characterized by the public as a “cub” due to its extremely small size, but it was actually a yearling, meaning it was born the previous winter. A healthy yearling should be twice as large.

In situations like this, biologists euthanize immobilized bears using drugs similar to what a veterinarian would use for pet cats and dogs.

Nelson Lafon, forest wildlife program manager with DWR


A bear cub that was in a Downtown Roanoke tree Monday evening has been rescued.

10 News was at the scene to watch when a firefighter was raised up from the firetruck to remove the tranquilized bear from the tree.

According to Roanoke Police, the bear cub was not harmed during the process on Monday evening. It has not been transported to a more suitable area, according to police.

People were asked to avoid the area as crews worked on a safe resolution for both the public and the cub.



The Roanoke Police Department is asking the public to avoid downtown after a bear cub was spotted in Market Square.

Police say they are currently working on a safe resolution for both the public and the cub.

We’re told RPD’s Animal Warden Unit is on the scene and has been in contact with the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

“Please avoid downtown and give the bear his/her space,” Roanoke Police wrote on Facebook.

As of 4:35 p.m., Campbell Ave SE was blocked off to traffic.

10 News has a crew on the way working for you to learn more.

You can find safety tips by clicking here. Visit the Virginia Department of Wildlife’s Bear resource page here.

About the Authors

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.

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