Bear dies after getting trapped in car in Sevierville

A bear died after getting trapped in a car during heat wave Wednesday, according to officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
Officials said a bear died after getting trapped in a car during a heat wave in Tennessee. (Source: WVLT)
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 8:05 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2022 at 8:10 PM EDT
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SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - A black bear died after getting stuck in a hot car in Sevierville on Wednesday, according to officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

The owner of the car got in a different vehicle around 10 a.m. and when they returned at 6:45 p.m., they found the bear dead in the car, according to wildlife officers.

Officials thought the bear got inside the car by using its paws or teeth and got trapped after the door shut. Officers said the temperature outside was above 95 degrees, meaning the car could’ve been hotter than 140 degrees.

“Notice the empty soda can and food package on the floorboard. Bears have noses 7 times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the faintest odor of food inside a vehicle,” TWRA officials said. “Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside! Empty food containers, candy wrappers, fast food bags, and even air fresheners can attract bears.”

Officials warned visitors and residents to be #BearWise.

The GSMNP has a list of steps you can take to protect bears:

  • Dispose of all garbage or food scraps in bear proof garbage containers or take it with you.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding a bear guarantees its demise!
  • Do not approach within 50 yards or any distance that disturbs a bear.
  • Do not allow bears to approach you.
  • Use the food storage cables to store your food and garbage when camping in the backcountry.

Park officials also encourage visitors to report people who break these rules, which you can do by calling 865-436-1230.

The TWRA has a similar list of guidelines to follow as well:

  • Never feed or approach bears!
  • If a bear approaches you in the wild, it is probably trying to assess your presence.
  • If you see a black bear from a distance, alter your route of travel, return the way you came, or wait until it leaves the area.
  • Make your presence known by yelling and shouting at the bear in an attempt to scare it away.
  • If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area.
  • When camping in bear country, keep all food stored in a vehicle and away from tents.
  • Never run from a black bear! This will often trigger its natural instinct to chase.
  • If a black bear attacks, fight back aggressively and do not play dead! Use pepper spray, sticks, rocks, or anything you can find to defend yourself. If cornered or threatened, bears may slap the ground, “pop” their jaws or “huff” as a warning. If you see these behaviors, you are too close! Slowly back away while facing the bear at all times.

The TWRA also lists advice for when you see a bear while in town. This advice is similar to what you should do when you see one in the wild.

  • Never feed or approach bears.
  • Do not store food, garbage or other recyclables in areas accessible to bears.
  • Do not feed birds or other wildlife where bears are active.
  • Feed outdoor pets a portion size they will completely consume during each meal and securely store pet foods.
  • Keep grills and smokers clean and stored in a secure area when not in use.
  • Talk to family and neighbors when bear activity is occurring in your area.
  • Bears will almost always find an escape route if they are left alone.
  • Shout and throw sticks or rocks in the vicinity of bear to encourage flight once an escape route has been established.
  • Females with cubs will often climb a tree to escape cover; never surround a tree holding any bear, especially a female with cubs!
  • Locate and remove the lure that caused the bear to come into your area. There is almost always a safe escape route when bears enter towns. Crowd control is the initial concern as the behavior of a cornered bear can be unpredictable. Immediately report to the TWRA or local police any sightings of bears within areas of human population centers.

Also remember to report any bear sightings to the TWRA as soon as you see one. You can do that by clicking this link.

A black bear was euthanized last week after scratching a woman and then charging another neighbor, according to TWAR officials.

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