published Saturday, May 3rd, 2014

Tennessee relocating black bears found in cities

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. — Officials in Tennessee have been relocating black bears found in urban areas and warning residents not to harm the animals.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency spokesman Matthew Cameron says three bears were recently captured in Johnson City and southwestern Washington County.

Cameron told the Johnson City Press ll three were later relocated to a more appropriate area, including one brought to the Cherokee National Forest in Cocke County.

"They said it was about a 350-pound male, so it was a pretty good-sized bear," Cameron said. "Hopefully, he'll stay wild up there."

The president of Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend, Dana Dodd, says officials are investigating the shooting of a mother bear, who was seen with three cubs. Dodd says the cubs will be cared for and released into the wild later this year.

In addition to the adult, TWRA also located two black bear cubs and their injured mother Monday after a 911 call was made about three bears roaming the area near Tenn. Highway 107 and Clarks Creek Road. By the time agents arrived at the scene the mother black bear had already been killed by TWRA officers because of a pre-existing injury that left her hind legs paralyzed. TWRA is investigating the shooting

The officers found shelter for the brother and sister cubs at Appalachian Bear Rescue in Townsend.

ABR President Dana Dodd said she expected the cubs to be released back into the wild by as early as November or December. Though that may seem soon, Dodd said the cubs should each weigh upward of 100 pounds by that time.

"They will grow very, very rapidly," Dodd said. "They will be fine by the time we release them."

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