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Black bear running around downtown Chattanooga euthanized, TWRA reports

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 9/27/2020 Rosana Hughes, Chattanooga Times Free Press

A small black bear that was seen running around downtown Chattanooga Saturday evening was shot dead by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency out of concerns for public safety, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

People in Chattanooga began posting videos and photos of the bear running through the city late Saturday afternoon.

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A TWRA representative told the Times Free Press that the bear had been tagged previously because it had interacted with people or been near them.

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"Due to the health and stress of the bear and more importantly, public safety, this bear was euthanized," TWRA spokesperson Mime Barnes said in an email to the Times Free Press. "It's not an easy job for officers and not their outcome of choice. They are trained in a decision making process and to put public safety first."

READ THE STORY:  Black bear euthanized after running around downtown Chattanooga

Black bears in Tennessee

Black bear sightings are becoming more common in East Tennessee and may increase as bears begin their "fall shuffle" to prepare for hibernation. 

Coy Blair of Appalachian Bear Rescue said that bear food supplies depend on seasonal crops: plant shoots, berries, and hard mass like acorns and nuts. 

Acorns and other hard mass drop in late summer and fall. Blair said between berry season and the acorn drop, sightings are more likely as bears tromp around looking for other things to eat. 

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What to do if you see a bear

If you see a black bear, Blair said it's important to be vigilant, watchful and observant.

What you should do when you see a black bear depends on where you are, Blair said.

"If you're hiking through the back country and see a bear in its natural environment and you're a safe distance away, be vigilant and watchful – and you're a safe distance away, enjoy the sight, as it's not something everyone gets to see."

Also ensure that you're not crossing paths. If the bear doesn't move from your path, don't run away. Blair said back away until you're separated and then turn back. 

If you see one outside of its normal environment, such as in the city or around areas of human population, Blair said to go back inside or get in a vehicle if you can. 

"Once you're somewhere safe you can call the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency to let them know a bear has wandered into a place that might not be a good place for it to be."

If you're in either environment and a bear is wandering closer to you, make yourself known. 

"It's best if you're with a group, but if you're not, you can make yourself look bigger or stand on something," Blair said. "Talk to the bear in a normal voice, you can say something like 'Go away, bear." 

If the bear starts coming toward, increase your presence: Yell loudly, make noise and throw things. 

Finally, Blair said, "If a bear does attack you, you've got to fight back with everything you've got."

Includes information from Brittany Croker with the Knoxville News Sentinel.

Brittany Crocker covers breaking and trending news

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Black bear running around downtown Chattanooga euthanized, TWRA reports

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