Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was rated one of the “13 Best Places in the U.S. for Wildlife Viewing” by Budget Travel Magazine.  The magazine ranked the park the best place in the nation to see American Black Bears. The article estimates the black bear population at about 1,500 which is about two bears per square mile!   They say the “perfect spot” is in the Cades Cove area of the park.  {Check out some of our Visitor Submitted Bear photos}

In other bear news, a bear who was spotted with a plastic jar on its head about 4 weeks ago has finally received some much needed help.  The black bear was spotted wondering around the Smokies with a large plastic jar on its head as far back as June 28!  After several spottings and phone calls to the National Park Service, a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wildlife officer was finally able to shoot the bear with a tranquilizer dart gun on July 17.


Officer, Shelley Hammonds, found the bear laying down in the C&C Pawn Shop parking lot and she and witnesses at the scene removed the plastic jar from the bear’s head.  Hammonds said, “On every level he was in a deficit. For three weeks he had not eaten, had been breathing his own breath, and the only way he must have been able to drink was by lowering his head under water and filling up the jug.”  After receiving medical help the bear was given a clean bill of health and released in the Cherokee National Forest.  Authorities speculate the bear was rummaging through garbage when he got his head stuck in the jar.