GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s not only humans who enjoy Anakeesta. Black bears do, too.
On Thursday, one easy-going black bear took a stroll along the TreeTop Skywalk at Anakeesta while the weather was misty and wet. Anakeesta was kind enough to share the video with us.
It’s springtime in the Smokies, which means bears are leaving their wintering dens in search of food, so sightings of the animals will occur more.
Black bears are curious by nature, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s page on black bears, but distance from the wild animals should always be maintained if they happen to wander onto a site where humans normally frequent.
Here are some other reminders from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency about bears:
- While black bears are usually tolerant of humans, they should always be treated as wild animals, whether in residential or backcountry areas.
- Black bears are rarely aggressive towards people and typically go out of their way to avoid contact, however as human development continues and bear numbers increase, occasional interactions will be unavoidable.
- Black bears are extremely powerful animals whose behaviors can be unpredictable.
- Black bears are very curious animals and this should not be confused with aggression.
- Startled bears will often confront intruders by turning sideways to appear larger, make woofing and teeth clacking sounds, salivate, lay their ears back and slap the ground with their paws. These are warnings for you to leave the area.
- Bears will often stand on their hind legs to get a better view or a better sense of hearing and smell.
- Never feed or approach bears.
The Southeast is home to some 72,000 black bears, according to BearWise. For more information about black bears, you can also visit the “BearWise” program page.