Smokies park rangers: It is illegal to feed wildlife

Local News

Park rangers are reminding the public it is illegal to feed wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A video recently posted on the Facebook page “Smoky Mountain Insider” shows visitors dropping food out their car window as a coyote is walking through a parking lot at Cades Cove.

According to park rangers, this is very dangerous for visitors and the animals. They want to remind the public it is illegal to feed wildlife in the park. 

More online: Be Bear Aware

“Since 2016, we’ve issued 22 citations for disturbing elk or bears by willfully approaching too closely,” said Dana Soehn, spokesperson for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

According to the law, willfully approaching within 50 yards or any distance that disturbs or displaces a bear is illegal in the park. Violations of this federal regulation can result in fines or arrest.

Signs posted at Cades Cove also remind visitors feeding the animals is also prohibited. 

Park rangers issue citations for littering, feeding animals and for improper storage. These citations can result in fines up to $5,000 and jail sentences up to six months.

More online: What to do if you see a bear

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