Bear Cub Locked in Car Outside Visitor's Gatlinburg Cabin, Mama Bear Only Feet Away


Many people retreat to Gatlinburg for the remote cabins that let you unplug for a weekend. It’s only 8 miles away from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers alike!

Tanya Young and her friends were excited to spend the weekend in one of those cabins. On Sunday Jan. 14, the group was inside of the cabin when they heard a car horn blaring outside.

There was a black bear cub inside of the car! It wasn’t alone though.

Another cub was standing behind the car and an adult bear, called Mama Bear in the video, standing off in the distance.

A police officer later explained that the family had left a den nearby in search for food. The cub had apparently smelled the six dog treats left inside, opened the car door, and was trapped inside when the door shut.

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The cub inside of the car was frantically clawing the driver’s side of the car trying to get out and Mama was nervously pacing back and forth.

One of the observers shot his gun in the distance to try to scare off the bear bystanders so that they could get to the car safely.

The group of friends then drove a second car close to the first. They wanted to open the car door so the distressed cub could escape without endangering their own lives. Mama was a little too close for comfort.

A man quickly opened the car door, but it shut too quickly for the cub to get out. The second attempt, however, was successful!

The driver’s side door definitely had damage. Young said this about it, “He was only in there about 15 min. But there r teeth marks over all the leather in front seat and middle seat. Pieces out of steering wheel. Sunroof pushed up and jammed. Some electrical stuff. Glass totally scratched up. Estimate for repairs was huge.”

This group of friends had a close call, but being that close to black bears can be extremely dangerous.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has a few tips in case you’re found in a similar situation.

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If you see a bear, they suggest that you do not get too close to it or let it get too close to you.

Watch the bear’s behavior. If it changes, like stops eating or starts watching you, you are probably too close.

If the bear becomes agitated, do not run. Slowly back away. Make as much distance between the two of you as possible.

The biggest tip is to stay aware of your surroundings while you’re in nature. You never know what kind of wildlife encounter you may have!

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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