According to WATE, WBIR, and WVLT, a man was injured by a black bear near Gatlinburg yesterday. It seems he spotted the bear and her two cubs in the parking lot of a mountain condo/chalet development and got out of his car to take pictures. He left his car door open and his dog escaped, attacking the cubs. If you've been around a black bear mother and her cubs, you know what happened next.
According to the news reports and witnesses, the man was "attacked" by the bear while he was kicking her in an effort to rescue his dog. Thankfully, neither the dog nor the man suffered serious injuries. A TWRA officer shot the bear, and believes it wandered off to die. They were still searching for its body. The two cubs will be raised in captivity and released into the wild when they are older.
So, how many mistakes does it take to kill one of Mother Nature's magnificent wild creatures?
Mistake #1: The guy who decides to risk his life by approaching a wild black bear and her two cubs, and bonus, lets his dog escape and attack the bear's cubs, and double bonus, attacks the bear to rescue the dog. In the big scheme of nature, and especially from the bear's perspective, who was the aggressor here?
Mistake #2: The general manager of the mountain condo/chalet development who was quoted by WVLT as saying "It's going to be terrible that she's not here anymore. It's something we looked forward to on a daily basis and now it's gone thanks to a tourist." Memo to Gatlinburg businesses: sure, wild bears and especially their cubs are cute, but wild bears are not advertising props or promotional gimmicks. It's bad enough we encroach on their territory, but allowing them to hang around afterwards is a recipe for trouble.
Mistake #3: The TWRA officer who shot the bear, who according to WBIR said "A bear has attacked a human being... I'm not comfortable having a bear run around after having attacked a man with no consequence." Who attacked who again? (See Mistake #1.) What are the consequences (other than getting swatted by a bear) for people who harass or feed bears? How many citations have been handed out in the past year for that? And he's not "comfortable" having a bear running around? Then why wasn't the bear relocated away from a populated area? According to news reports, TWRA knew about the bear. Apparently everybody up there did. (See Mistake #2.)
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