Bear country tutorial uses new medium to reach hikers

A new video podcast called “Day Hiking and Wildlife” has been created to educate hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park — or anywhere in bear country for that matter — on proper etiquette.

The podcast covers park rules, keeping a safe distance from wildlife and what to do in the midst of an encounter.

The video comes on the heels of an unfortunate incident where a small bear repeatedly fed by visitors nipped a man on the foot while he was trying to get a close-up photo. While the man wasn’t injured, the bear was euthanized in keeping with park policy for bears that have shown aggressive tendencies toward humans.

“We hope that this video will be another tool to help hikers safely observe wildlife in its natural habitat, which is one of the privileges we gain by preserving this great landscape for all to enjoy,” said Cathleen Cook, Chief of Resource Education.

The 6-minute podcast is the second of a three-part series on hiking safety. The first one was called “Day Hiking: Expect the Unexpected” and covered how to prepare for the Smokies’ unique weather terrain, and other unexpected circumstances.

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