Protect Rhea County’s Bears

We were excited today when we received photos of bear poop and tracks from the Evensville area of Rhea County, about forty miles north of Chattanooga.

It’s very common for bears to be more active this time of year as they emerge from winter inactivity and try to regain the weight they lost over the lean months. Please be sure that they continue to seek their natural foods, for their safety and ours!

When bears get used to finding easy food from trash cans, bird feeders, and pet food bowls, they un-learn their instinctive tendency to avoid humans. They may get so comfortable around us that they start entering unsuitable urban areas and even approaching us to “ask” for food.

When this happens, there are no good outcomes. If a bear that’s used to hand-outs is relocated, it may starve to death or be chased away by competitors, or it may slowly migrate right back to where it finds human homes and businesses. If the bear continues seeking humans for food, it can hurt or even kill someone. And of course, no one wants to have to resort to euthanizing a healthy bear.

If you are in Rhea County, please help your bear neighbors by making sure you haven’t made any unnatural food sources accessible to bears. Please take down your bird feeders, feed your pets inside, put a latch on your trash can, and throw away those Halloween pumpkins that are still on your porch. Protect your bear neighbors so no one gets hurt. 🐻 🐾

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