GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — A Smokies park official confirmed Friday that a female Black Bear has been hit and killed on the Gatlinburg Bypass. The death of the sow bear likely marks the 6th wildlife-vehicle collision or WVC in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this year.
GSMNP spokesperson Dana Soehn says the bear weighed 220 pounds and did not have any ear tags, which means park officials have no record of her having been a “nuisance bear.”
“On average, 11 bears are killed by motorists each year,” Soehn stated in an email to WATE 6 On Your Side. “I don’t have the stats for this year, but I think this may be the sixth.”
An 8-month-old Black Bear cub hit by a car earlier this year is recovering at the Appalachian Bear Rescue. The cub, nicknamed “Myrtle” was found by park rangers on River Road the last weekend in September. Read her recovery story.
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The National Park Service states the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the eastern U.S. where Black Bears can live in the wild, natural surroundings. Wildlife managers actively monitor bear activity in the park.
The identity and condition of the driver, and vehicle, that collided with the bear was not released.
The 3.6 mile Gatlinburg Parkway Bypass is owned and managed by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It runs from the Gatlinburg Spur to 441 near Sugarlands Visitor Center in Sevier County.