KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A black bear caused some alarm after it was spotted by multiple people wandering around Downtown Knoxville, but it eluded area police during its excursion.
The Knoxville Police Department said on Monday that there had been a couple of calls, but they were not sure if any officers had actually seen the bear. KPD says there was a call at 4:45 Monday morning of the bear running west on Walnut toward Main, but the caller lost sight of the bear near Locust and Main. Just over an hour later, KPD says another person called about a young bear running up Central toward the dog park downtown and Summit Hill.
One viewer, Thomas Goldsby, shared a video on Tuesday that they had seen the bear while walking through the Main Avenue garage, matching the one incident shared by KPD. Goldsby said the bear exited the garage and crossed Locust street before heading up to the corner of Main Street. Just a minute or two earlier, Goldsby had been where the bear was with their dog “Dandylion.”
According to KPD, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency advised callers to stay away from the bear, and that the bear was likely just wandering through and would move along on its own as it was not bothered by anyone.
The latest video footage shared by the Public Building Authority shows the bear walking down the road near the building before crossing the street and heading up a hill.
According to a later report from TWRA, it appears the bear wasn’t found, but it also had not been spotted by police. TWRA said on Monday afternoon that they had spoken to every agency in and around Knox County, and none of them had knowledge of a bear currently in the Knoxville area.
Should anyone spot the bear again, it is important to give it space and not to approach it. TWRA’s website states that you should never feed or approach bears, and if you find yourself close to a bear, slowly back away but never run from a black bear as it will trigger its natural instinct to chase. TWRA also advised KPD that anyone who sees the bear should not chase, follow, or surround the bear.