A black bear made an interesting detour on Tuesday night-- checking out the inside of a DENSO Manufacturing plant!
DENSO spokeswoman Bridgette LaRose confirmed to 10News on Wednesday a bear was seen in and around the Maryville plant around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday.
A picture circulating on social media showed the bear running through the plant near a truck loading/unloading area, a DENSO spokesman confirmed to 10News.
Viewers sent us screenshots of text warnings sent to them from the company about the incident.
In the texts, DENSO said "a bear has been spotted in and around DENSO property."
A DENSO Maryville spokesperson, Bob Booker, said the bear entered the company briefly and left without leaving damages to any workers or the property.
The company also said it was working with local authorities and asked employees to keep plant doors closed, use caution around the plant and not eat outside.
The TWRA said the bear was eventually caught Wednesday night by Blount County Animal Control. Officers immobilized it with a tranquilizer dart and asked the TWRA to place it inside a live trap to be relocated.
The bear was moved to the Cherokee National Forest with an ear tag and aversive conditioning to help deter that from happening again. TWRA Officers said it’s an old boar bear based on tooth wear and weighs nearly 400 lbs.
TWRA officials said they suspect the bear had been eating human food because of its size and shape.
DENSO said its management team, safety and health/security and other departments are investigating how it got inside the perimeter fence and the building. It will implement countermeasures based on the findings to make sure more bear buddies don't wander in again, according to an official statement.
It's important to remember black bears are wild animals. It's not unheard of for black bears to go roaming about towns near the Smokies, or even uncommon.
But it is important to remember your responsibility for taking care of one of Tennessee's state treasures when in the area, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency explains on its website.
"They have been called a charismatic mega-fauna and for good reason – everyone from non-hunters, to hunters, to wildlife watchers - we all love bears in our own special ways," the website reads. "For these reasons, it is everyone’s responsibility to keep them wild and keep them alive."
So, what are the best ways to co-exist with the bears?
-Never feed or approach bears-- this includes carefully managing sources of human food or garbage to make sure the bears can't access it or aren't attracted to the area. When camping in bear country, keep all food stored in a vehicle and away from tents.
-If you live in a town near black bear habitats, you should not store food, garbage or other recyclables in areas accessible to bears. You also should avoid feeding birds or other wildlife where bears are active.
-Outdoor pets should only be fed a portion they will completely consume, and keeping grills and smokers cleaned and stored securely will also help deter bears.
-If you do encounter a bear, remove whatever attracted the bear to come into your area. There is almost always a safe escape route when bears enter towns. Crowd control is the initial concern as the behavior of a cornered bear can be unpredictable. Immediately report to the TWRA or local police any sightings of bears within areas of human population centers.
-While black bears are usually tolerant of humans, they should always be treated as wild animals, whether in residential or backcountry areas. Black bears are rarely aggressive towards people and typically go out of their way to avoid contact, however as human development continues and bear numbers increase, occasional interactions will be unavoidable.
-If you see a black bear from a distance, alter your route of travel, return the way you came, or wait until it leaves the area. Make your presence known by yelling and shouting at the bear in an attempt to scare it away.
-If approached by a bear, stand your ground, raise your arms to appear larger, yell and throw rocks or sticks until it leaves the area. Never run from a black bear! This will often trigger its natural instinct to chase.
For more information on how to peacefully co-exist with black bears, visit www.tn.gov.