NEWPORT — A male black bear has been released back into the wild after state wildlife agents tranquillized it and removed a plastic jar that was stuck on its head.
The bear was first spotted in jeopardy on June 28 when a Newport Utilities worker saw it near the water treatment plant. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency got reports again on July 4 that the bear was in the same area, but couldn't find it either time, according to The Knoxville News Sentinel. Then, there were a flurry of reports from near Cosby.
On July 17, wildlife officer Shelly Hammonds was checking out a report that the bear had again been sighted in Newport when the animal ran out in front her vehicle. Hammonds was able to sedate it with a tranquillizer dart. The bear collapsed in downtown Newport and dozens of people watched while the animal was given fluids intravenously and the jar removed.
TWRA officials say the bear weighed about 115 pounds. Its normal weight would be around 200 pounds. The bear was released into the Cherokee National Forest.