Campbell County sheriff’s deputies found a bear scavenging human remains in a backyard near Jellico, Tennessee on Wednesday.
The deputies had gone to the house to perform a wellness check, a spokesperson for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency told WVLT.
Authorities believe the person they found was already dead before the bear began eating the remains.
Deputies stumbled across the body just before midnight. It was in the Duff community between Jellico and LaFollette, WBIR reported. The bear was eating the body in a wooded area behind the home. Deputies believe the bear had scavenged it.
The body is going to Knoxville for an autopsy, according to WVLT. Authorities have set a trap for the bear.
The TWRA, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation are investigating the situation.
“The death is under investigation and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office will continue to assist the [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] during the investigative process,” Campbell County Sheriff Robbie Goins told WBIR. “If more information becomes available, we will make an additional release.”
Someone in the area had filed a missing person’s report about three weeks ago, the sheriff’s office said, according to WBIR.
This incident comes two weeks after rangers in Great Smoky Mountains National Park had to euthanize a black bear found snacking on human remains.
Hikers discovered the deceased, Patrick Madura of Elgin, Illinois, around Hazel Creek Trail. The area was closed until further notice. Madura’s cause of death remains under investigation.
And four days ago, Tennessee wildlife officials had to shoot a black bear. The animal was on the loose in downtown Chattanooga. The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported that the bear had already been tagged for interacting with people or getting too close to them.