Black Bears Need To Forage
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is asking for help on their Great Smoky Mountains National Park Facebook page. The black bears need to be left alone to forage prior to the winter months. Please heed the posted warning signs. Here is a copy of their request.
“We need your help! Please allow bears to forage undisturbed during this critical feeding period before winter hibernation. Bears depend on fall foods such as acorns and grapes to store fat reserves that enable them to survive winter. This year, these foods in the park are extremely scarce.
The park is temporarily closing areas around scarce food sources to allow bears to feed without being disturbed by visitors. The areas are coned off and signs are posted. Please respect these closed areas to give bears an opportunity to eat and build up fat reserves for the winter. Please do not stop your vehicle in coned off areas to take photos or enter the areas on foot. Doing so will scare bears away from these critical food sources.
Also, although it is very tempting to do so, do not feed bears or allow them access to human foods. It is illegal to feed bears. All food waste should be properly disposed of to discourage bears from approaching people. Feeding, touching, disturbing, and willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, is illegal in the park. If approached by a bear, visitors should slowly back away to put distance between the animal and themselves creating space for the animal to pass.
For more information please seehttp://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/bear-closure-zones.htm andhttp://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm. To report a bear incident, please call 865-436-1230.”
While visiting the Great Smoky Mountains everyone gets so excited when black bears are spotted. Many people rush too close to the bear to get that perfect picture. But please remember these black bears are wild animals and unpredictable. And as stated above by the park service, this time of year is crucial to the bears for feeding prior to the winter hibernation. This is a busy time of the year with all the visitors in the park for the fall foliage season. If you are visiting the park please heed the warning signs posted if you see one.