Massive black bear euthanised after bursting into tent and attacking mother and three-year-old girl

A 350-pound black bear was killed after it tore into a tent in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and injured a 3-year-old girl and her mother, according to National Park Service officials.

Park officials said the bear entered the Elkmont Campground at 5.20am on Sunday while a family of five were sleeping in their tent.

The bear reportedly tore into the family’s tent and scratched the mother and the little girl on their heads.

The father of the family was eventually able to scare the bear away. The family left a note at the campground office notifying officials about the attack and left to get medical treatment for the mother and child.

Both were treated for non-life-threatening lacerations on their heads, according to NPS officials.

Staff set traps in the campground area for the bear and tracked it down. After finding the bear and trapping it, NPS officials said the animal was humanely euthanised.

According to park officials, the bear had become accustom to humans and no longer showed fear from human encampments. The bear reportedly “boldly” entered the trap set by park officials. They determined it had to be euthanised because it posed “a risk to human safety”.

“The bear weighed approximately 350 pounds, which is not standard for this time of year, suggesting the bear had previous and likely consistent access to non-natural food sources,” Lisa McInnis ,the park’s Chief of Resource Management in a statement.

According to NPS officials, the bear’s behaviour suggested that it was not predating on the family, but rather it had become accustom to eating human food and was searching for it in the tent.

Bear attacks see an uptick in May and June when bears’ natural foods, like berries, are not yet available in the wilderness. Park officials said the bear likely smelled food in the area of the campsite.

“In this incident, the bear was likely attracted to food smells throughout the area, including dog food at the involved campsite,” Ms McInnis said. “It is very difficult to deter this learned behavior and, as in this case, the result can lead to an unacceptable risk to people.”

Experts recommend hanging food items at least 10 feet off the ground and five feet from trees when camping. Many campsites have bear proof lockers for food storage specifically to diminish the potential for human food to draw the animals toward campsites.

While bears are dangerous wild animals, deadly attacks are still relatively rare, with only 25 people being killed across North America in the last 20 years.

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