Black Bear Assaults Sleeping Tent Campers in Smokey Mountains

On Monday, Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park rangers euthanized a 350-pound black bear that attacked a household as they slept of their tent at a campground southwest of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Through the incident, which occurred on Sunday morning, a girl and her younger daughter “sustained superficial lacerations to their heads,” the park service stated in a new release.

“A household of 5 have been sleeping of their tent at Elkmont, with their canine, when a black bear ripped into the tent at roughly 5:20 a.m.,” officers stated within the release. “After getting access to the within of the tent, the bear scratched a 3-year-old lady and her mom. The daddy was capable of scare the bear from the tent and campsite, however solely after a number of makes an attempt. The household left a notice on the campground workplace to report the incident and departed the campground to hunt medical consideration.”

The half-million acre nationwide park, which straddles the North Carolina-Tennessee border, is likely one of the largest protected areas for black bears within the jap United States. An estimated 1,500 bruins populate the park. Based on the Nationwide Park Service, human-bear conflicts “peak in late Might and June when pure meals, like berries, usually are not but accessible.” 

Nice Smoky Mountain black bears feed on sedges, bugs, and carrion, however their most well-liked meals, comprising 85 % of their diet when in season, are berries and nuts. 

However the euthanized bear was not after berries. Lisa McInnis, the park’s chief of useful resource administration, told the Charlotte Observer, “The bear weighed roughly 350 kilos, which isn’t customary for this time of 12 months, suggesting the bear had earlier and sure constant entry to non-natural meals sources. On this incident, the bear was probably drawn to meals smells all through the realm, together with pet food on the concerned campsite.”

After being alerted to the incident at round 9 am, park biologists carried out an investigation after which set bear traps on the southwestern fringe of the campground. When the bear returned to the campsite the following day, in response to the discharge, it exhibited “excessive food-conditioned conduct and lack of concern of people, boldly getting into the entice with out wariness.”

“It is vitally tough to discourage this realized conduct and, as on this case, the end result can result in an unacceptable danger to folks,” McInnis concluded. The campground remained open, however the park service issued a warning recommending that campers not use “tents and soft-sided shelters” and that they shut and lock bear-resistant meals containers. On Monday, they euthanized the bear for public security.

Based on the park service, traditionally, solely two bear-related human fatalities have been reported contained in the Nice Smoky Mountain Nationwide Park, the newest in September 2020, when a bear killed a camper within the Hazel Creek Space.

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