KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Dollywood guests waiting on a tram to get into the theme park found themselves among two four-legged natives.
Two black bear cubs were within feet of guests at a stop in the Dollywood parking lot outside the park. Park guest Clarence Mathis snapped this video of the bears wondering the “B” lot.
“The mama bear had already crossed the road when the little ones got distracted anyone with small children will understand,” Mathis said in a post on social media. “Everyone did a great job of not disturbing them including #Dollywood staff and employees.
“The people you see in the video had just exited the tram and (were) walking to their vehicles when they came out from under a car.”
Matt Cameron, a wildlife officer with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, says now is the time of year that black bears will be out roaming for food.
“Because Dollywood is nestled in the foothills of the Smokies, animals occasionally find their way onto our property,” Dollywood spokesperson Wes Ramey said. “Because these animals have not shown aggressive behavior, they are not able to be relocated at this time. Dollywood’s Safety and Security staff are monitoring the situation in conjunction with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to ensure that our guests and hosts remain safe.
“Dollywood, along with TWRA, will continue to monitor this bear family and their progression. We remind everyone — not just Dollywood guests — that while bears are a natural part of the Smokies, they are not pets. Please do not feed or attempt to approach them at any time.”