By DREW GARDNER
6 News Reporter
GATLINBURG (WATE) - Black bears are no stranger to Gatlinburg, but a cub found itself in the middle of hundreds of tourists over the weekend.
This is the latest in a string of black bear sightings in populated areas. Instead of fleeing from the bears, people seem to be racing toward them.
Tricia Alexander of Powell posted on Facebook a video she took from inside her car. The video shows people rushing towards the bear as it traveled down the Parkway and passed storefronts in between shocked onlookers. However, in viewing the video, you may be surprised how unsurprised some in the crowd are as they rush towards the bear.
"Unfortunately a lot of people in our society are getting more desensitized to wild animals as we move more and more into this digital age, and we don't actually get out into the woods, so you don't encounter these animals very frequently except for on TV," said Dr. Marcy Souza of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine.
Dr. Souza says people must remember bears are wild and dangerous animals.
"Although he looks cute and cuddly, they can actually be pretty fierce," said Dr. Souza. "That bear probably weighed somewhere in the range of 80 pounds would be my guess, and they can do some serious damage if he got cornered as he did in some of those situations."
Dr. Souza believes this is a cub from last year and was likely traveling alone and not with its mother, which may have prevented this from becoming a much worse situation.
"If it was smaller, and it looked like it was potentially a cub from this year that may have been traveling with mom, then you have to worry about where is mom, and mom can be very protective of her cubs," said Dr. Souza.
The doctor's best advice if you see a bear of any size is to forget getting the best angle with your camera phone and instead find the safest spot you can until the bear leaves the area.