A bear found scavenging human remains near a backcountry campsite Friday has been euthanized,Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials said in a press release Saturday.
Hikers in North Carolina discovered an empty tent and the body of an out-of-state male near Campsite 82 on the afternoon of Friday pushing rangers to close a portion of Hazel Creek Trail.
Shortly after, the hikers also came upon the bear, which was scavenging the area. They left immediately to find cell coverage and call authorities.
Emergency communication staff received calls shortly after 7 p.m. and law enforcement, rangers and wildlife officers went to the scene. They arrived about midnight, the release stated.
They found the bear “actively scavenging on the remains” and euthanized it.
Rangers are working to notify the camper’s next of kin.
The man’s cause of death is not known at this time and officials are investigating.
Hazel Creek Trail between the juncture with Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail will remain closed until further notice.