Black bear fight filmed near Tennessee attraction


Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – A video captured near a popular attraction in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, showing two large black bears engaged in an aggressive fight on Monday has gone viral.

Billie Jo and Micah Campbell recorded the Bruins brawls from the safety of a garage near historic Ely’s Mill.

The video posted on Facebook by Ely’s Mill has garnered over 350,000 views.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency wrote on Facebook that it believes the altercation may have been over a food source, as it is a bit early for the bears to engage in a battle for dominance during breeding season. , an assessment echoed by Knoxville Zoo’s Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education Phil Colclough.

“Some good educated guesses would be that these are two animals that have just come out of hibernation, potentially competing for territory or resources. Food is pretty scarce right now, so they might be fighting for the food shortage,” Colclough said. “I saw a lot of open mouth contact. It didn’t seem to be very rough with me. There wasn’t a lot of biting or tearing or that sort of thing.

“Another possibility, the one on the floor looks like a female and the bigger one looks like a male and it could be [a] female defending the cubs,” Colclough said. “She may have cubs quite early right now and it could very well just be a defensive maneuver around those cubs.”

Wildlife officials encourage people to remember bear safety when visiting the area. Click here to learn more about how to practice effective bear safety and become “bear aware”.

“You should always stay away from wildlife no matter what, especially if there’s a volatile situation like this,” Colclough said. “You should stay back anyway, but with a volatile situation like this, you really have to be careful with this rule.”

“Don’t feed the bears. Don’t accidentally feed them. Don’t feed them on purpose. A bear fed by humans often means a dead bear because it becomes a nuisance bear,” he said. “They bypass people. They break into their cars and break into their picnics. Often they need to be moved or euthanized and neither of these is a perfect solution.


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