Bear rips into tent at Elkmont Campground, injures mother and daughter
On June 12, a bear ripped into a tent at Elkmont Campground in search of food and was euthanized.
GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) - A bear ripped into a tent at a popular campground Saturday, prompting Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials to warn against tents and soft-sided shelters at the campground until further notice.
On June 12, a bear ripped into a tent at Elkmont Campground in search of food, according to officials. It reportedly found a tent with food in it, which violates a set of guidelines from the TWRA that ask all campers to keep food in vehicles. As a result, a girl, 3, and her mother suffered “superficial scratches to their heads.”
Park officials stated the father was eventually able to scare the bear from the campsite. Wildlife biologists tracked the bear after the attack and eventually euthanized it, according to a news release from the park.
The bear displayed food-conditioned behavior, according to park officials. It walked into the trap that biologists set for it without fear, and park officials warned this behavior is very difficult to deter.
GSMNP Representative Dana Soehn spoke to WVLT News, saying that visitors should take extra care over the next few weeks.
“Natural food sources are scarce during this time period before the berries ripen,” she said. “It’s extremely critical, over the next few weeks, that all visitors follow BearWise practices when hiking and camping in bear country. Any aggressive or unusual bear encounter should be reported immediately to park rangers.”
While the campground as a whole remains open, as a public safety precaution, sites K1-4, K6, K7, K11 and L1-7, as well as K/L-Loops, are temporarily closed to visitors, according to the campground’s website.
“Camping in bear country is inherently risky,” officials said. “It is critical that all campers follow food storage regulations and bear safety guidelines.”
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