Black bear in Blount Co. neighborhood sign of bears on the move

A black bear decided to drop in on a Maryville couple's backyard.

Fairview Heights in West Maryville is far from a rural neighborhood, there's an elementary school, businesses and even a few gas stations.

That's why it was a real surprise to see a bear show up at one couple's home.

From their back porch, Danny and Mary Wightman like to keep an eye on the variety of critters that come to snack on their bird feeders. But in four decades in their West Maryville home, they've never seen a bear. Until last Friday.

"He was in a sitting position and he stood up and continued to look at them and then he left,” explained Mary Wightman.

From their porch they snapped photos while neighbors did the same.

The TWRA says folks in this neighborhood aren't alone. There have been several bear sightings around Blount County over the past few months.

Right now bears are out looking for food and will keep traveling until summer berries ripen in late June.

The Wightmans keep their bird feeder locked up to keep any stray animals from making a meal.

"They like these raw peanuts a whole lot more than these roasted peanuts,” Wightman says, referring to snacks inside her bird feeder.

According to the Appalachian Bear Rescue, bears come out of their dens by mid-April. The group is advising people to put up anything, including bird feeders that can attract stray bears.

This sighting was reported to the TWRA and the Wightmans say they're not afraid of the bear showing up again.

"No I enjoyed seeing him,” said Danny Wightman.

But they will stop putting food out if he comes back, for fear that the animal may have to be taken away by authorities.

© 2017 WBIR.COM


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