GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WJHL) — Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers have issued a citation to visitors for feeding a bear peanut butter in the Cades Cove area.
Park officials say witnesses provided video documentation of the incident and the visitors admitted to feeding the bear.
The bear had to be trapped, tranquilized, and tagged after it exhibited food-conditioned behavior. Conditioning techniques such as this are meant to discourage bears from frequenting parking lots, campgrounds, and similar places. The park’s supervisory wildlife biologist says this technique is about 60 percent successful.
Feeding, touching, disturbing, or willfully approaching wildlife within 150 feet, or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, is illegal in the park.
More information on black bears, including safety information, can be found on the national park’s website.