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TWRA: Black bear that snuck into Anakeesta concession stand will be killed if caught

From WATE: A black bear that snuck into an Anakeesta concession stand through an employee entrance Thursday will be killed if it is captured, acco

From WATE: A black bear that snuck into an Anakeesta concession stand through an employee entrance Thursday will be killed if it is captured, according to the TWRA.

 

The TWRA shared on Saturday that if the bear is captured, it will be killed because of the actions of humans. He said those actions, over time, caused the bear to lose its fear of people and to seek out human-use areas as a food source.

 

“The bear entered a [concession stand] from an employee entrance and was eating food inside while a crowd of people were close to it, videoing it, and talking,” said TWRA spokesperson Matt Cameron. “This is not normal bear behavior. This occurs after a bear has obtained human food either from garbage, access to unsecured foods, or being intentionally fed by people tossing food to it and the behavior escalates.”

 

Cameron added that the biologists, managers, and officers who work for the TWRA did not get into wildlife management to kill animals, and they do not enjoy having to. He asked the public to be diligent to not help bears become habituated to unnatural foods to avoid more of these encounters.

 

Friday evening, Anakeesta released a statement saying that it is aware of a video circulating online showing the bear inside of the “Bear Can” concession stand after entering through an employee entrance around 9:30 p.m. Thursday.

 

The bear then attempted to exit the concession stand the way it came, but it encountered a worker who was entering the concession stand and both the employee and bear were startled. The video shows the bear lunging at the employee, and Anakeesta said the bear and employee “made brief physical contact.” The video then shows the bear running away and the employee running inside the concession stand and closing the door.

The employee was not seriously injured and opted not to receive medical attention, the park said.

 

Anakeesta added that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which surrounds Anakeesta on three sides, is home to many woodland creatures, including black bears, and guests are encouraged to enjoy the view of the bears at a safe distance.

 

“Bears are a big part of the magic in the Great Smoky Mountains,” said Austin Martin, Communications Manager, “the Anakeesta team works diligently to create a safe space to co-exist with the native wildlife.”

 

The park shared that it works continuously with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and local agencies to limit interactions between wildlife and people in the park.