A black bear has died after becoming trapped inside a car, likely searching for food, amid sweltering heat that topped 95 degrees in Tennessee this week, officials said.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said in a Press release the bear entered a car parked at a rental cabin in Sevierville on Wednesday.
The car owner left the cabin in another vehicle around 10 a.m. When they returned just before 7 p.m., they found the bear dead inside, the statement said.
According to wildlife officials, it appears the bear entered the car using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and became trapped after the door closed behind it.
Once inside, the bear likely died in the heat as outside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees, meaning the temperature inside the car could have “possibly reached over 140 degrees. “, officials said.
The bear might have been lured into the car by the smell of the food.
“Notice the empty soda can and food packet on the floor,” the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said, sharing a photo from inside the car. “Bears have a nose 7 times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the slightest odor of food inside a vehicle.”
Tennessee wildlife officials are warning adventurers and outdoor campers to lock their car doors, roll down their windows, and avoid leaving food or anything that smells like food inside, because even empty food containers, candy wrappers, or air fresheners can attract bears.
Sevierville is located about 23 miles north of Great Smoky Mountains National Park where a 350-pound black bear was euthanized last week after tearing down a tent and injuring a 3-year-old girl and her mother, officials said. Park.
A family of five were sleeping in a tent with their dog at Elkmont Campground on June 12 when the bear burst in and scratched the mother and child on the head.
The father managed to scare the animal away.
Officials said the animal “displayed extreme food-conditioned behavior and a lack of fear of humans” and “boldly” entered the trap. He was euthanized on June 13 because he presented a “risk to human safety”.