Bear euthanized after injuring mother, 3-year-old in Smokies

Bear tile

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) -- Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials say a bear has been euthanized after ripping into a family's tent and injuring a mother and her 3-year-old daughter.

Park officials say the incident happened Sunday at Elkmont Campground. The 350-pound bear was euthanized Monday after likely being attracted to campsite food smells and having previous access to non-natural foods.

Officials say the black bear tore through the sleeping family's tent at 5:20 a.m. and scratched the mother and daughter, causing superficial head lacerations. The father scared off the bear after several attempts.

Officials investigated and trapped the bear, which showed extreme food-conditioned behavior and didn't fear humans.

Officials say it's difficult to deter learned behavior of bears who access human food and it can present unacceptable risk to humans. Food storage regulations exist where bears may be present, and in the rare occurrence of an attack, officials suggest fighting back with any object available.