SWAIN COUNTY, N.C. (WATE) — Great Smoky Mountains National Park reports that rangers had to euthanize a bear after finding it scavenging on human remains that were reported by backpackers near Hazel Creek Trail and Backcountry Campsite 82.
GSMNP officials report that on Friday afternoon, backpackers found human remains across the creek with a bear scavenging in the area, and they left to get cell coverage to report the incident to authorities right away.
Rangers and wildlife officers rushed to the scene after communication staff received the report just after 7 p.m.
When staff arrived at Backcountry Campsite 82 shortly after midnight, they confirmed the report of a deceased adult male; they also found a bear actively scavenging on the remains and euthanized the bear.
Rangers are working to notify next of kin, and as of right now the cause of death is unknown and this case remains under investigation.
GSMNP says that Back Country Campsite 82 and Hazel Creek Trail will remain closed until further notice between the juncture with Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail.
For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm. To report a bear incident, please call 865-436-1230.
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