Gatlinburg, TN -- We expect to spot black bears in the Smokies or even in some
backyards, but one bear on the run got a lot of attention over the
weekend because of where it was spotted.
Cell phone video,
captured by Tricia Alexander, shows the black bear making its way from
the National Park, attempting to get into the Gatlinburg Convention
Center, and then running down the Parkway and even using the cross walk
to get back home.
The video has popped up all over social media. Alexander's video has been "shared" more than 2000 times.
just happened to be there," Alexander said. "And when I saw the bear,
that was my first instinct to grab the phone and video it."
family outing to Gatlinburg, the Powell residents noticed a large group
of people taking photos. When they figured out what was going on, they
joined in too. But stayed in the comfort of their car.
just see people standing there saying "Oh my God! A bear!" Alexander
said. "A lot of people didn't see him coming and he just ran right by
them and they're like wow! It was unreal!'
While it started out a
little scary, it turned comical for the Alexander family when the bear
used the crosswalk to cross the street.
"Safety first, right?" Alexander said.
"But he forgot to look back and forth," said Alexander's daughter, Macy.
Thankfully the bear made it out on its own, without injury to itself or others.
"I think we've watched this video 100 times," Alexander said.
The bear left the Alexander's with a keepsake, they'll watch for years to come.
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said some folks, who moved closer
to the bear to grab a picture, did not appear to take the bear as
seriously as they should have.
"Definitely do not chase the bear.
It's okay to get pictures of the bear and video of the bear. It's
always exciting to see a bear. However, you don't want to let your
excitement cause the bear any trouble," said TWRA officer, Scott Reasor.
said to keep your distance and go the opposite way of the bear. TWRA
also advises if you live near bear habitats, do not leave bird feeders
or pet food outside and keep all trash in bear proof garbage cans.
While this case was unusual, bear sightings are not uncommon in Gatlinburg.
In fact, the Gatlinburg Police Department has received 630 bear calls in the last two years.