HIKERS in the US’s Great Smoky Mountains National Park happened across a bear scavenging human remains.
American press report the group of backpackers first discovered an occupied tent at the park’s campsite 82 on the afternoon of Friday September 11. Just a short time after that they found what looked as though it was the remains of a person in the remote Hazel Creek area of the park. A black bear was nosing around for food nearby.
Unsurprisingly the walkers hastily bid a retreat and made for somewhere where they could get mobile phone coverage and report the grisly find to the authorities.
As soon as the call got through to the Emergency Communications just after 7pm staff alerted law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers.
When they got to the location soon after midnight they euthanised the bear.
They also closed off the campsite where the hikers had come across the empty tent and a section of the Hazel Creek Trail, which is located on the North Caroline side of the park.
The reports say the rangers and officers confirmed the death of an adult man, who was from out of state.
Also that the cause of the man’s death has not yet been established, but an investigation is underway and rangers are working to inform the next of kin.
Five years ago a 16.year boy suffered serious injuries, including deep cuts to his scalp and face, when a black bear dragged him out of his hammock while he was sleeping when he was on a backpacking trip with his father in the same backcountry area of the park.
Straddling the border between Tennessee and North Carolina, the Great Smoky Mountains park covers more than 500,000 acres of rugged, forested terrain.
It is the US’s most visited national park, attracting some 12.5 million visitors in 2019.