SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – A black bear died on Wednesday after it got stuck in a vehicle in eastern Tennessee as temperatures soared into the mid-90s, wildlife officials said.
According to a news release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the bear managed to enter a parked car at a rental cabin in Sevierville.
The owner of the car left the cabin area in a different vehicle at about 10 a.m. EDT, and when they returned at 6:45 p.m., they found the animal dead in the parked car, WVLT-TV reported.
Wildlife officers believe the bear entered the vehicle by using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and became trapped inside when the door shut behind the animal.
“We believe that heat likely killed the bear as outside temperatures exceeded 95 degrees yesterday, meaning the vehicle’s interior possibly reached over 140 degrees,” the agency said in its news release.
TWRA officials added that there was an empty soda can and a food package on the floorboard of the vehicle, WJHL-TV reported.
“Bears have noses seven times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the faintest odor of food inside a vehicle,” the TWRA wrote on Facebook. “Lock your doors, roll up your windows, and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside!
“Empty food containers, candy wrappers, fast food bags, and even air fresheners can attract bears.”
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