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Black bear dies after locking itself in hot car in search of food


A black bear was found dead in a parked vehicle outside Knoxville, Tennessee, after accidentally locking itself inside while foraging for food, authorities said.

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency released a statement last week with images of the bear and open food. The incident occurred in a rental cabin in Sevierville. The owner left the vehicle at 10 a.m. and the bear was found around 7 p.m. Temperatures in the area at that time were approaching 100 degrees.

“It appears the bear entered the car using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and was trapped inside after the door closed behind it,” the statement read.

Disclaimer: graphic images below

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“We believe the heat likely killed the bear as outside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees…meaning the interior of the vehicle may have reached over 140 degrees.”

The wildlife resources agency included images of the dead bear and food wrappers in a call to action for people to keep animals and themselves safe.

“Here’s a great example of how #garbagekillsbears,” the statement read. “Notice the empty soda can and food packet on the floor. Bears have a nose 7 times better than a Bloodhound and can smell even the slightest odor of food inside a vehicle. Lock your doors, roll up your windows and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside!”

According to the Wildlife Services of the United States Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, black bears are undoubtedly “food-driven animals” and in many parts of the country they can break into vehicles if drivers do not take appropriate precautions.

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