Release of Injured Black Bear back into Park

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Date: February 7, 2018
Contact: Jason Fisher, (423) 569-9778
Contact: Christopher Derman

On December 04, 2017 a juvenile black bear, which was seriously injured by a motor vehicle four months prior, was returned to Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. Due to the release of the bear in a remote area of the park, during evening hours, this activity was not open to the public.

On August 18, park visitors reported an injured bear on the road, near Bandy Creek Visitor Center. Upon reaching the site, National Park Service (NPS) staff found the injured six-month-old bear. A subsequent check confirmed that the bear had several broken bones, but no fatal injuries from a motor vehicle collision.

NPS staff anesthetized, then transported the cub to University of Tennessee for examination and surgery. The bear was transferred to a rehabilitation facility, and was cared for with minimal human contact, where it gained over 100 pounds. When released, the young bear was healthy and had completely healed from its injuries. 

"Although this accident ended on a high note, vehicular collisions with wildlife often do not. This event serves as a cautionary reminder to motorists to be alert for the presence of wildlife on or along the roadways, especially during the low light conditions between dusk and dawn," said Superintendent Niki Stephanie Nicholas.

Last updated: February 7, 2018

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