In this day and age, where everything can be shared in social media, you can see amazing things like a Black Bear that went in a hot tub in Tennessee. Yes, you heard that right! Just recently, a Black Bear went in a hot tub in Tennessee! Earlier this May, Hannah Elizabeth Strickland who happened to spend her vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains, had the privilege of getting a personal encounter with a Black Bear! Well, it was more of her hot tub having the close, but it was a close encounter nonetheless! She shared the photos with her friend, Laura Halm who couldn’t contain her excitement and posted about the cuteness on Facebook. Her original post read:
“OMG CUTE ALERT: My sweet friend, Hannah Elizabeth Strickland, snapped these photos of this little guy relaxing in a Gatlinburg cabin this morning! #Gatlinburg #BlackBears #Smokies”
According to Laura Halm, Hannah Elizabeth Strickland saw the bear hop over the railing of the patio of their cabin and got into the water. She also said that the bear was apparently a mother and had three cubs with her. She couldn’t help but take snapshots because she knew this was a once in a rare sight to behold. Since Laura Halm posted the photos, poeple shared it more than four thousand times and gone viral on social media.
We all grew up having teddy bears all around us, and I think they bring us a lot of comfort and a sense of security. Maybe that’s why the post has gone viral; it was a real-life teddy enjoying a hot tub! As much as we find black bears cute, you shouldn’t reckoned them like a force. These gigantic and robust animals are beautiful but must be handled with extreme caution. We also need to know how to respond or react upon sighting so that we can adequately protect them.
As of today, the estimated Black Bear population in the state of Tennessee is around seven thousand. Authorities say that this number will continue to grow slowly. A lot of reports contains their sightings. In some cases, there has been aggressive behavior from the bears. Bears are wild animals, and so we have to know about them so we can react properly. So, what do you need to know about bears?
In a nutshell, Native Americans hunted bears mostly for food and for their coat. There was a time that the black bears in Tennessee had a dwindling population because of unregulated hunting and because the increase of people displaced them in their own natural habitat. The Black Bears can reach six feet in height and six hundred pounds in weight. They are known to have an excellent sense of smell. Their sense of smell is a hundred times better than humans. They are great in the water and can run as fast as thirty miles per hour.
According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, we should never forget that bears are far from our stuffed toys and cartoon character favorites. They are wild animals and are very unpredictable. They try to avoid human contact, and that is how it should be, we must not attempt to initiate contact with them as they can sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior when they feel threatened.
First of all, do not come near them. Try to move away as far as you can. However, you must remember not to run at all. Since they are animals, they might act on their instinct to chase after you if you do. If you leave them alone, they will most likely find a way to escape or flee from you. Do not try to feed them as well. They say that a fed bear is a dead bear. We must not let them get used to being around humans for their own protection and ours too. In addition to that, bears are also dexterous animals. That is why; a lot of the garbage bins’ designs in Tennessee are to prevent Black Bears from rummaging through them. A lot of the foods for human consumption are not healthy for them or safe for them to eat.
TWRA encourages everyone to report bear sightings. It is also important to note that if you see a bear that seems sick or injured, that you DO NOT try to attempt and help the bear. Call or notify TWRA. You must be trained to handle these animals, and any wrong move can endanger your life or the lives of the people you are with. Bear cubs are cute but their mothers are very protective so treat them as you would adult Black Bears and keep your distance. They wouldn’t know if you had good intentions or if you are trying to take her cubs away from her. So, caution is always the key. If you realize that the bear was lured to your location for some reason, try and remove the lure so that it won’t return.
If you happen to see a Black Bear in your hot tub just like the one Hannah Elizabeth Strickland saw in her cabin in the Smoky Mountains, do your best not to make contact and not to make any noise. Do not panic and remain calm. If the bear has not seen you, keep it that way and slip away from the area. And here is a gentle reminder, remember to close the hot tub covers when you’re not using it.
Life is short, and we must live it to the fullest. We must take the time to splash and get into a hot tub once in a while. The precious moment of being able to witness a bear up close without any harm inflicted to both man and animal is something to be cherished and thankful for. We must learn to co-exist while respecting each other’s boundaries. We must have a balance between work and relaxation too, just like what this bear has shown us. If she enjoyed the hot tub in the cabin of the Smoky Mountains, I’m sure you’d enjoy it too!