How to survive a black bear encounter – WJHL-TV News Channel 11

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Posted: Mar 25, 2022 / 03:41 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 25, 2022 / 03:41 PM EDT
by:
Posted: Mar 25, 2022 / 03:41 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 25, 2022 / 03:41 PM EDT
(WJHL) – After a 500-pound black bear was relocated away from its Greene County home, Tri-Cities residents may be wondering just what they should have done if they ran into that bear, or another one, themselves.
Your best bet, the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) says, is to make sure you don’t see a bear in the first place.
The TWRA has found that black bear populations are on the rise in Tennessee, and as cities expand into previously wild areas, the chance increases for bears to get accustomed to human environments and decide to stick around. The main reason a black bear might decide to stay close to humans is access to food.
“The survival rate of bears receiving food from people is likely a fraction of that of wild bears that do not have repeated contact with humans,” the TWRA’s website says. “The deliberate and accidental feeding of bears is socially irresponsible and causes animals to become conditioned and habituated to people.”
Habituated bears, like the one found in Greene County, are more than happy to steal human food and trash and can often grow to larger sizes. While this may sound good for the bear, those nutrients come at a cost.
“The age-old adages: ‘Garbage kills bears’ and ‘A fed bear is a dead bear’ could not be truer,” the site reads. “Nationwide bear management experience has clearly shown that bears attracted to human food sources, or that are deliberately fed by humans, have a relatively short life.”
To keep local bear populations healthy and away from humans, the TWRA recommends following a strict trash and food policy:
Even if all guidelines are followed, it doesn’t mean a bear can’t wander onto your property or into natural areas that you happen to be as well. In that case, the National Parks Service (NPS) recommends the following:
In the event of an attack, recommendations vary depending on the species. In Northeast Tennessee, black bears are the only documented bear species in the wild. To survive a black bear attack, NPS recommends doing the following:
Again, people are advised to avoid contact with bears whenever possible.
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(PHOTO TWRA)

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