MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The “DENSO Bear,” which gained notoriety after walking through an East Tennessee manufacturing plant, has been released in the Cherokee National Forest.
Wildlife officers estimate it’s an old boar bear based on tooth wear. It weighs nearly 400 pounds, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said Thursday afternoon.
“DENSO Bear’ was released with an ear tag and “aversive conditioning” to deter further nuisance issue, TWAR said. Rubber buckshot is used for “aversive conditioning,” according to a tweet on the agency’s Twitter page.
Blount County Animal Control officers immobilized the bear Wednesday night using a dart gun after it reappeared at the DENSO plant in Maryville.
The bear was first seen inside the auto parts maker’s Maryville facility on Tuesday night but escaped off the property when law enforcement arrived. Photos of the bear inside the plant went viral on social media.
“Thanks to our DENSO employees for being alert and our Safety & Health/Security Dept. for closely monitoring the situation,” DENSO said in a statement. “Also, a big thanks to the Maryville City Police Dept. and the Maryville City Animal Center for supporting in the safe capture of the bear and helping ensure our employees and the public remain safe.”
The DENSO release also said: “Our Maryville, Tenn. management team, Safety and Health/Security and other departments are currently investigating (right at this very moment) how it got inside the perimeter fence and the building. They will implement countermeasures based upon their findings to help ensure this doesn’t happen again.”