TWRA Kills Bears Suspected in Attack

Gatlinburg, Sevier County (WVLT) - The TWRA thinks they found the bear involved in a Saturday attack on a Gatlinburg woman.

A cub was trapped and euthanized Saturday.

An adult and two other cubs they say were acting aggressive and chasing people, were euthanized Sunday.

While the adult may have been the one involved in the attack...why were the three cubs also euthanized?

Volunteer TV's Stephen McLamb just returned from the Smokies, with new details.

Rangers say, the cubs were becoming used to people food and more aggressive and so they had to put the bears and their mother down.

They say not the way they wanted it to end, but an ending you can help them avoid.

A drive down river road in the Smokies doesn't take long before you begin to see bears these days.

"I'm concerned that they don't get killed because the tourist go crazy when they see one," says Robert Duisen.

"We've come up here for many years and bears up here it seems like they are getting to be more and more now. It seems at one time they were gone but now they're coming back," says Jack Nelson.

And it's no wonder as officials say the bears are having a hard time finding food in their natural habitat.

"When we did our hard mass survey we found out there wasn't a lot of food inside the park, inside the mountains where we surveyed, so we thought bears may be more persistant to actually going out looking for food," says wildlife biologist Kim Delozier.

On Saturday, 73 year old Carole Benoist was attacked by a bear going through her garbage. Since then a sow bear and three cubs were euthanized because they were deemed nuisance bears.

"Living off dumpsters and in trash cans that behavior they learned is all negative," says Willard Perryman, TWRA Supervisor.

Officials say there are things you can do to protect yourself and the bears. First, don't feed them people food. Wild bears need to stay that way.

Second, make sure your garbage is where bears cannot get to it and also don't feed your pets outside or fill bird feeders. Lastly, don't try to stop a bear that's found garbage.

"It's no different than a dog it's eating it's own food and you try to take that food away from it, it's going to be aggressive and it can actually be protective of it's food," Delozier says.

The TWRA says they are still getting reports of an aggressive mother and cubs in the area near the attack on Saturday, so they are keeping the traps out.