Another bear killed on interstate in Sullivan County

Rain Smith • Jun 19, 2019 at 12:21 PM

KINGSPORT — Another black bear has wandered onto an interstate in Sullivan County and been fatally hit by a vehicle. The incident is the second in three weeks.

Wednesday morning’s collision occurred in the southbound lanes of Interstate 81 at mile marker 55. A tweet from the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Fall Branch district included a pair of troopers at the scene with the bear’s body.

The caption also reminded drivers, “When you’re involved in a crash, regardless if it’s with wildlife, please report the crash to authorities.”

On May 30, the THP reported a bear being hit and killed by a motorist on I-26. It occurred at mile marker 1 in Kingsport.

That tweet urged drivers to keep both hands on the wheel because you “never know what may run out in front of your vehicle.”

Bear sightings are typical for this time of year. According to Bays Mountain Park Ranger Bob Culler, many are young bears who were kicked out by their mothers and are now looking for new territories.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency reports that black bear populations are growing across the state. While bears are usually tolerant of humans, the TWRA warns that bears should always be treated as wild animals, whether in residential or backcountry areas.

A fed bear is a dead bear, says the TWRA: “The deliberate and accidental feeding of bears is socially irresponsible and causes animals to become conditioned and habituated to people. Bears that habituate to human presence eventually become a threat to human safety. The end result is that such bears are often killed by intolerant and/or fearful landowners or have to be destroyed by the TWRA.”

Bird feeders and pet food should be brought inside at night, while outdoor grills should ideally be stored in a garage. If you maintain a compost pile, put only non-food items in it, or sprinkle some lye on the pile to reduce odor.

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