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On Oct. 16, a black bear was spotted roaming around a hotel in Gatlinburg! This is just one of many recent black bear sightings in the area. Get all the details on the sighting of the bear at the Gatlinburg hotel and learn what you should do if you encounter a bear.
Black Bear at Gatlinburg Hotel
A guest at the Days Inn in Gatlinburg was walking down an outdoor balcony on Tuesday, Oct. 16 when she spotted a black bear rummaging through a trash can. The bear wandered around for about 15 minutes, overturning trash cans outside of rooms before heading off down the street. The guest caught all of it on camera, and you can watch some of the footage below!
Other Black Bear Sightings in Gatlinburg
There have been numerous black bear sightings around Gatlinburg. Just recently, a bear opened a truck door and stole a bag of what used to be full of fast food. During the summer, one stole pizza from a table on the outdoor patio of a Gatlinburg restaurant, and another one was seen walking across the roof of Ripley’s Moving Theater in Gatlinburg! There have been a few more seen breaking into cars, and some simply wandering down the streets of downtown. It is not unheard of for black bears to go roaming through towns near the Smoky Mountains, so it’s important to know how to stay safe if you see one.
Black Bear Safety Tips
While the chances of seeing a black bear wandering around town when you visit Gatlinburg may be slim, you’ll still want to know what to do if you happen to encounter one. It’s important to keep these safety tips in mind:
Keep your distance – Stay a safe distance from the bear. The National Park Service requires people to stay 50 yards away from wildlife at all times, and this is a good rule to keep in mind if you see one throughout Gatlinburg. It is not a bear’s first instinct to attack. If you leave it alone, chances are it will leave you alone as well.
Don’t feed it – Make sure you do not feed the bear, whether it’s intentionally or unintentionally. This means to always throw away all trash from food when you’re finished with it, or if you have food with you to keep it secured and don’t leave it unattended. Feeding a bear will cause it to lose its fear of humans, and their behavior becomes unpredictable.
Don’t run – If you see a bear, ignore your first instinct to run. If you run, it will more than likely trigger the bear’s natural instinct to chase you. If the bear is staying still, move away slowly and sideways. This is so you can keep an eye on it, and it’s also seen as a non-threatening movement to bears.
What to do if you’re approached – In the event that a bear is coming toward you, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area. You want to make as much noise as possible to deter the bear from coming any closer.
How to Safely View Wildlife in Cades Cove
If you want the opportunity to safely view wildlife in the Smoky Mountains, visit Cades Cove! Cades Cove offers the best opportunity for spotting a black bear, and you can do so from the comfort of your car on the Cades Cove Loop Road. The best times to spot black bears are in the early mornings and late evenings when traffic is less heavy. For the best view, bring a pair of binoculars and a camera with a telephoto lens to get clear pictures from a safe distance.
For more information on how to safely view black bears in Cades Cove, read our blog “6 Essential Tips for Cades Cove Wildlife Viewing.”