Every year the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) receives hundreds of calls and complaints concerning black bears. Most of the complaints are of bears raiding garbage containers, bird feeders, and pet food left outdoors. Additionally, some people even intentionally feed bears. As a result of the improper storage of garbage, easy availability of bird seed, and the direct feeding of bears, animals often become habituated to humans and become a nuisance and a threat to human safety. Nationwide bear management experience has shown the life expectancy of “nuisance” bears may be less than half of that of “wild” bears that do not have repeated contact with humans. Disappointingly, there are no other alternatives but to destroy bears that have become a threat to human safety. Last year hundreds of agency man-hours were spent addressing bear-human conflicts as a result of people directly and indirectly feeding bears. The fact that “Garbage Kills Bears” is irrefutable. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear. As summer approaches and the likelihood of bear sightings increases, the TWRA encourages residents to educate themselves by being "bear aware."
Please help keep communities safe by preserving the “wild” nature of bears by following these few simple tips:
Until the public stops feeding bears and acknowledges the fact that garbage does indeed kill bears, then the TWRA along with other responsible wildlife agencies will have no choice but to euthanize bears that become a threat to humans.