Rangers Euthanize Smoky Mountain Bear Discovered Scavenging Human Remains

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

An investigation into the man’s cause of death is underway

For the second time since 2019, rangers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP) have euthanized a bear for scavenging human remains.

According to 10 News, hikers stumbled upon an unoccupied tent at a campsite near the remote Hazel Creek Trail in North Carolina last Friday, Sept. 11. They then discovered a bear scavenging a body across a creek nearby. The hikers left the site to get cell service and notified the rangers at approximately 7 p.m. that evening.

“Law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers were immediately dispatched to the scene. Staff arrived at campsite 82 shortly after midnight and confirmed the report of a deceased adult human male,” the statement said.

When they arrived at the site, rangers killed the bear, which was still feeding on the remains.

GSMNP spokeswoman Jamie Sanders said the rangers made the right decision in euthanizing the animal.

“Our wildlife biologists, who are experts in human-bear conflicts, believe that once a bear has scavenged on the remains of humans that they pose a real serious risk of doing that behavior again,” Sanders explained. “We never want bears to associate people with food.”

The park has euthanized 57 bears for management reasons since 1990. 

The body was identified as 43-year-old Patrick Madura from Elgin, Illinois. An investigation into the cause of death is underway.

In February of 2019, a bear was put down after it had partially eaten a man’s body in a wooded area off Rich Mountain Road in Townsend, Tennessee. An autopsy concluded the man had died of an accidental meth overdose.

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