Black bear dies trapped in car

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This bear was found dead in a car after getting trapped inside while looking for food on Thursday. (Source: TWRA)

A black bear died Thursday in Sevier County after getting stuck in a car that was parked at a rental cabin, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. 

The car’s owner left the cabin in a different vehicle about 10 a.m. and found the animal’s corpse inside the car when he returned nearly nine hours later.

“It appears that the bear got inside the car by using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and was trapped inside after the door shut behind it,” a TWRA spokesperson said Friday. 

“We believe that heat likely killed the bear as outside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees yesterday, meaning the vehicle’s interior possibly reached over 140 degrees,” the spokesperson explained. 

Referring to a series of photographs of the scene released to the public, the spokesperson pointed out why the bear probably climbed into the car.

“Notice the empty soda can and food package on the floorboard,” they said. “Bears have noses seven times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the faintest odor of food inside a vehicle.”  

They added: “Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside!   Empty food containers, candy wrappers, fast food bags, and even air fresheners can attract bears.” 

Published on June 24, 2022.