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Black bear charges at surprised Tennessee park employee, video shows

Black bear charges at surprised Tennessee park employee, video shows

Black bear charges at surprised Tennessee park employee, video shows

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) – A black bear was euthanized after an incident at Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, last week.

The company is also implementing new security measures to deter future encounters.


The encounter took place inside a concession stand at the recreational park on Thursday around 9:30 p.m. Video filmed by Zachary Recchia shows the animal first at the concession stand counter and then lunging at an approaching employee and who appeared at the door when I was leaving.

The employee can be seen returning to the concessions area, unaware of the bear, when it lunges out and hits her with both front paws. The bear quickly disappears from sight and she hurries towards the stall, closing the door behind her.

A representative for Anakeesta said the bear and the employee “had brief physical contact” during the incident.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said Monday that a bear matching the description of the bear seen in the video was captured and euthanized. Several more bears, including a female with four cubs, were captured and released.

“TWRA doesn’t like having to euthanize wildlife, especially bears, and we don’t do it indiscriminately,” says Dan Gibbs, TWRA black bear coordinator. “We use what we call the ‘Bear Conflict Matrix,’ which was developed by wildlife professionals as a guide to addressing human-bear conflicts. In this incident, the bear entered a food stand with humans present and made physical contact with an employee, causing minor injuries. Unfortunately, this bear was not a candidate for relocation.”

Anakeesta and TWRA also announced new safety measures at the park. Temporary electric fencing and electrified “junk mats” will be used when the park is closed to visitors. Steel cages have also been ordered to secure concession stand doors and contain trash before it is taken to trash compactors.

“Our team is expanding our partnership with TWRA by implementing new initiatives to keep bears and people safe while vacationing at Smoky Mountain,” said Bryce Bentz, president of Anakeesta Mountaintop Adventure Park. “We are improving our park every day with guidance from local agencies on how to stay ‘BearWise.'”

This is the second encounter between a bear and a human caught on camera in the Smoky Mountains in the past week. Another video shared on social media shows a bear approaching a woman holding a child outside the Bearskin Lodge in Gatlinburg on June 18. The TWRA said if the bear seen in the video is captured, it will also be euthanized.

You can find more information on staying safe in areas where bears are known to live at BearWise.org.