A Virginia woman faces serious backlash after being caught on video feeding a black bear while on vacation in Tennessee.
Kristin Hailee Farris is the 21-year-old TikToker from Virginia who posted a video of her hand-feeding a small black bear different snacks like chocolate and watermelon. According to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association, the incident took place while the woman was on vacation in Gatlinburg in late September.
The video has gone viral on TikTok with over 500,000 views, 75,500 likes, and 3,384 shares. Farris captioned the video, “I’m that crazy redneck girl ya mama always told you about. #tennessee #gatlinburg #onewithnature #babybear #ofans #BaseballSzn #differentroundhere.” She also had the song ‘Different ‘Round Here’ by Riley Green playing.
In addition, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association has filed charges against Farris for the illegal feeding of a black bear. According to wildlife officials, the law prohibited people from feeding bears or leaving food in trash cans that may attract them. The law applies within a six-mile radius around Gatlinburg. This is to discourage people from attracting bears to residential areas like the city.
“The overwhelming desire to have a close encounter with a black bear is strangely more powerful than common sense,” said Sevier County Wildlife Sgt. David Sexton in a statement. “Many people intentionally feed bears with little regard for the dire consequences to the bears and humans they leave behind.”
If Farris is found guilty, she could face up to six months in jail as well as a $500 fine.
Do Not Feed Bears
According to the National Park Service, they warn how dangerous it is to feed bears. “Black bears are very smart and can identify food not only by smell but also by appearance. Bears who have been fed human food will begin to associate campsites, bags, garbage cans, and even cars with food. These food-conditioned bears can become dangerous. So please remember: Don’t let bears get your food or garbage!”
[H/T New York Post]