Wildlife Officials Hopeful About Black Bear
"We are hopeful that the black bear captured Sunday and tested yesterday is the one we suspected in the attack," according to Ron Fox, Assistant Director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.
A second bear was trapped yesterday approximately one and a half miles from the site of the attack. It was a smaller male bear. Wildlife officials' present plans are to hold the bear alive, while forensic evidence of the first bear is examined. No plans are in place to euthanize any more bears at this time.
"We have checked the traps this morning, with no new captures," according to Les Jones, TWRA area supervisor. "We are in the process of removing all traps except those in the immediate vicinity of the attack."
The University of Tennessee Veterinary School, in Knoxville, completed the necropsy late yesterday on the black bear suspected of killing a six year old girl and mauling the girl's mother and two year old brother last Thursday afternoon near the Chilhowee campground in the Cherokee National Forest.
The examination showed that the bear weighed over 200 pounds and appeared to be in good body condition for a bear coming out of hibernation. Tests for rabies were negative. There was evidence of good fat deposits in the muscle tissue, according to the University of Tennessee Veterinary School findings, under the direction of Dr. Robert Donnell.
The samples gathered are being transported to the appropriate testing facilities for further forensic analysis. Wildlife officials hope that DNA comparisons will identify this bear conclusively as the attacker.
The U.S. Forest Service has temporarily closed the Chilhowee recreation area, the Parksville campground and several roads and trails in the vicinity of the attack. This closure is expected to remain in effect until the forensic analysis is completed and all baiting smells that could attract additional bears are clear of the area.