A bear was tracked down in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because officials believed he had attacked and killed an illegal ginseng hunter – as it turns out, an autopsy on the man’s body revealed that he actually died from a drug overdose; methamphetamine to be exact.
As reported by the Sevier News Messenger, 30-year-old William Lee Hill, Jr. vanished while illegally harvesting ginseng in the national park. His body was later discovered “off-trail” and a bear was eating him. Rangers reported aggression from the bear as the body was removed.
Shortly thereafter, the bear was trapped and a tracking collar was placed on him – after officials consulted with “wildlife professionals,” the decision was made to kill the bear for the safety of the public. The bear eluded capture for several days, but was ultimately caught and fatally shot on September 16, 2018.
But the bear had nothing to do with the man’s death – an autopsy from the Knox County Regional Forensic Center showed “extensive postmortem animal predation, but no findings of antemortem/perimortem trauma.” The man did not die because the bear mauled him – he actually died from an accidental drug overdose.
In a release, the park commented on the reason for killing the bear:
“Out of an abundance of caution for the park’s 11 million park visitors, park staff implement aversive-conditioning techniques and, on rare occasions, euthanize individual bears that pose a threat to visitor safety.”
(Image via Pixabay)
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Yesterday: Dog found with frostbitten paws has been returned to owner – more here.
More: Mistake led to stray dog’s death at shelter – the story here.
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