A Black Bear Trekked Over 1,000 Miles During Journey Home After Relocation

The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

A Black Bear Trekked Over 1,000 Miles During Journey Home After Relocation

Posted 2023-01-03T11:50:00Z

The female bear was relocated after wreaking havoc at a campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

A problem black bear that had been relocated from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to South Cherokee National Forest in Polk County, Tennessee, has traveled more than 1,000 miles during her return to the park.

According to Insider, the female bear was removed from the park because she was rummaging through trash cans, eating food off of picnic tables, and stealing bags from walkers at a campground.

Before she was relocated, researchers fitted the bear, known as number 609, with a tracking collar to learn more about how bears behave after relocation.

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South Cherokee National Forest, where she was transferred, is less than 150 miles away from her original location. Instead of making a straight beeline back home, she took a 1000-mile journey through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina before recently returning to her favorite Great Smoky Mountains campsite.

Bill Stiver, a wildlife biologist who was tracking 609, told WBIR, "She never slowed down. She just kept on going. He added, This was definitely one of the most bizarre movements I've seen so far.

During her trek back to the park, 609 continued with her mischievous ways. She was caught on camera wandering through a shopping mall in Georgia. Witnesses say she also attempted to open doors to local businesses and searched through the trash before escaping into nearby woods.

Stiver says witnesses claim she was even hit by a car at one point but was unharmed.

Stiver told WBIR that approximately 2/3 of relocated bears are dead in about four months. The fact that 609 has survived her travel across four states makes her quite unusual.

According to WBIR, 1000 miles is the longest distance recorded for a Smokey Mountains National Park bear. The closest rival only walked 215 miles.

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