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WBIR) Knoxville police confirmed a bear spotted in a west Knoxville neighborhood Thursday was likely the same animal struck and killed on an interstate less than 24 hours later.

A vehicle hit and killed a black bear on Interstate 40 westbound just east of Interstate 640 shortly before 3:40 a.m., according to KPD spokesperson Darrell DeBusk. The driver wasn't hurt.

DeBusk said because of the accident's proximity to where the bear was last seen, it's likely the black bear killed Friday morning was the same animal seen on Kirby Road near Papermill Drive on Thursday.

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On Thursday, people also spotted the bear near Pond Gap Elementary School running through the playground. A man captured this video of the bear on his phone.

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and animal control were both called on Thursday, but officials decided to leave the bear alone because the animal wasn't acting aggressively toward humans.

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TWRA spokesperson Dan Hicks said a bear sighting in a city neighborhood is rare. But TWRA said male bears about 2 years old are transient while they're looking for a new mate and will travel long distances to find one.


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