Bear Killed After Attacking Girl In Great Smoky Mountains

Bear Killed After Attacking Girl In Great Smoky Mountains Outdoor Life

Black Bear Killed After Attacking 16-Year-Old Girl in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A black bear mauled a Tennessee teenager in a hammock at a backcountry campsite near Gatlinburg. The bear was found and shot by Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers.

A pair of bears was seen near the attack site, and one bear refused to leave. The family of the 16-year-old girl identified it as the attacking bear, and biologists confirmed human blood on the euthanized animal. The bear attacked the girl while she slept in a hammock near her family in a remote campground on June 16.

“This bear exhibited predatory behavior, attacking with no provocation,” said Dana Soehn, Great Smoky Mountains National Park spokesperson. “Fortunately, the family scared the bear away and kept it at bay until Rangers arrived.”

The girl remained conscious throughout the ordeal, but suffered head injuries and significant blood loss, officials said.

The backcountry campsite was nearly six miles from a trailhead, in mountainous terrain with thick greenery. The Tennessee National Guard conducted an emergency helicopter evacuation.

“We had to perform a hoist rescue into a tight space, dropping a medic through a small hole in the trees—that can be intense,” said a National Guard spokesperson. The girl was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park issues the following warning about black bears on its website:

“Warning: Bears are dangerous and unpredictable wild animals. Do not approach or allow them to approach you! Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear, is illegal in the park. Violation can result in fines and arrest. Use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals. Check the “Bear Closures” and “Bear Warnings” section of the Temporary Closures page before planning a hike.”

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“Warning: Bears are dangerous and unpredictable wild animals. Do not approach or allow them to approach you! Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear, is illegal in the park. Violation can result in fines and arrest. Use binoculars, telephoto lens, or a spotting scope to view the animals. Check the “Bear Closures” and “Bear Warnings” section of the Temporary Closures page before planning a hike.”