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Albert Cook didn’t believe his wife, Ruth, when she said there was a bear outside, so he had a look himself Friday evening.
“Sure enough, there was a bear in the yard,” said Cook, who lives in the Smokerise subdivision of Rockwood.
He said the bear appeared to be looking for food, fumbling around with watermelon rinds that had been thrown outside and bird feeders nearby.
The Cooks snapped some pictures from their balcony. Some neighboring women came by to observe the bear from their perch, but when two men from the neighborhood came down the driveway, the bear was spooked and left.
“He was headed toward Eagle Furnace,” said Cook, who said he later heard that a bear was spotted in that area. He said he believes it was the same one.
“He was going toward Abels Valley Road,” he added.
Kirk Miles, a Region 3 wildlife program manager with Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, said the black bear is an omnivore.
“Actually, most of their diet is vegetative matter,” Miles said.
He recommends keeping garbage and food scraps away from where bears can get it. Anyone who believes a bear is around should also temporarily remove bird feeders and other temptations, he said.
Miles recommended avoiding approaching, because approaching black bears may provoke them.
“They (black bears) are not particularly going to be aggressive. They are afraid of humans,” Miles said. “You shouldn’t approach any wild animal, really. They are unpredictable, and if they feel threatened ... bad things can happen.”