HomeOutdoorsNewsRelocated Bear’s Incredible 1,000-Mile Journey Back to Great Smoky Mountains Has Researchers Excited

Relocated Bear’s Incredible 1,000-Mile Journey Back to Great Smoky Mountains Has Researchers Excited

by Megan Molseed
(Photo by Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Researchers are astounded by the recently recorded journey a black bear has made after it tracks across four states and 1,000 miles. According to reports, it was around six months ago that researchers worked to relocate a female black bear from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Officials made this move after several reports that this wandering animal was doing bear stuff – stealing and eating food, pulling things off of area picnic tables, tearing into trash cans, and even stealing backpacks.

This animal was taken by authorities to the South Cherokee National Forest in Polk County Tennessee. The wildlife officials put a GPS tracking collar on the female bear in an effort to track her movements. This data would be used as part of a larger study that researched the behavior and patterns of these relocated bears.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Officials Investigate The Bear’s Movements After Relocation

Before the study began, researchers at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park theorized that many of these relocated animals returned to the park. Settling back into their original homes. Others, researchers believe, met their fate having been hit by cars or harvested by hunters.

“We weren’t sure what happened to them,” says Bill Stiver. Stiver works as a wildlife biologist working for the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. According to the officials, they have been collaring these animals for around 40 years. This female bear is number 609…and, they say, she is the most intriguing of the group.

The wildlife biologists discovered that this female black bear moved over 1,000 miles in her recent journey. She traveled across multiple states, walking through Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina before reentering Tennessee.

The bear eventually made her way across interstate 40, returning to the Great Smoky Mountains. In fact, this busy forest animal returned to the very same campsite where she was initially captured.

This Animal Kept Going, Beyond The Original Campground

One of the wildlife biologists, Bill Stiver says this movement was one of the most “bizarre” scenarios he’s seen so far. “She never slowed down,” Stiver says. “She just kept on going.”

The bear even went back after making it all the way back to that original campground. She eventually wandered her way over to Alpharetta, Georgia, where she found some brief local fame. News outlets in the area recorded the bear during this time. Making her famous when she was seen wandering a mall in the area and sifting through trash bins. She even got hit by a car, Stiver says.

This bear’s journey has ended somewhere near Cherokee the wildlife officials say. They haven’t received updated info on her location in a few weeks. Officials do, however, believe the bear is still alive. Officials say that this bear’s journey is the longest one they have seen from a bear. Prior to her record, another bear held the record for the longest journey traveling 215 miles in 2020.