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East Tennessee organization releases 10 black bears into the wild

The Appalachian Bear Rescue spent three weeks releasing orphaned Black Bears back home.
Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 9:04 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 1, 2020 at 10:26 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Several black bears are getting a second chance at life in the wild.

Coy Blair with the Appalachian Bear Rescue saw the fruits of his labor when the rescue released ten black bears over the course of three weeks in November.

“You get to see that they jump out the bed of the truck as fast as it can,” said Blair. “It’s really where the rubber meets the road something special to witness.”

Each bear comes in with a different story, but oftentimes in the same conditions.

“They’re always dehydrated because they’ve been without mom for most of the year,” Blair said.

Among the bears released into the Smokies were siblings Firefly, Downy and Flicker. TWRA officials reported they were found wandering alone after their mother was shot and killed outside a home in Sevier County. Officials called the shooting self-defense back in June.

Nearly a dozen other black bears are still left at the rescue. They’re kept at the rescue until they’ve been well fed and look healthy enough to get back home. In some cases, Blair said they’re kept until they’re sure there’s plenty for them to eat in other parts of the region they’re returning to.

“This year, thankfully, there’s a ton of hardhats on the ground and I think all of them are going to be really happy,” Blair said.

Blair urged residents to secure garbage cans and wait to put bird feeders up until the bears are hibernating this winter.

To report a lone cub or bear sighting, you can file a report with TWRA here.

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