Tennessee officials warn public after people get 'dangerously close' to bear

People were recorded getting "dangerously close" to a bear in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, earlier this month which prompted state wildlife officials to urge the public to back away from wild animals.

Footage recorded by Dean Schapiro shows a black bear wandering along the steps of the Gatlinburg Convention Center, as other onlookers proceed to go within mere feet of the animal to get a better look and record video.

The bear is seen wandering up and down the steps in front of the building as dozens of people stand by on the sidewalk and watch.

Matt Cameron, a spokesman for the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, said that "some of the people in the video were dangerously close," local news reported.

"When they started approaching it and chasing it with the camera and all that, it really put them in a dangerous situation," Cameron told WATE 6. "Just back away and give it a clear escape route."


Image from video: Dean Schapiro via Storyful

Schapiro told Storyful he initially recorded the video out of amazement, but later felt sympathetic toward the animal, as he said they have "no other place to go."

The animal managed to run away from the area, Schapiro said.

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TWRA explained that if a bear is a danger to the community, they will try to relocate it but a lot of time, relocation doesn’t work and the bear will have to be euthanized.  

This story was reported from Detroit. Storyful contributed.