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Odyssey of the black bear: the animal traveled 1600 km in 6 months to return to its native park

A female black bear traveled more than 1600 km in 6 months to return to her beloved park after relocating, reports Yahoo News.

Photo: IStock

About six months ago, a female black bear had to be relocated from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The bear wreaked havoc by eating food off picnic tables, stealing bags from pedestrians, and sniffing trash cans.

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Before releasing the bear to a new location, the researchers fitted her with a collar and a tracking device to learn more about the behavior of the bears after relocation. Her tracking number was 609.

She was transferred to the Southern Cherokee National Forest in Polk County, Tennessee. However, instead of staying still, she-bear 609 began to move.

She traveled 1600 km through Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina before returning to her favorite campsite in the Great Smoky Mountains.

“She never stopped. She just kept moving. It was definitely one of the strangest movements I have ever seen,” said Bill Stever, a wildlife biologist who tracked the 609.

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Bear 609 was caught on camera roaming a mall in Georgia. Witnesses said she tried to open the doors of local businesses and rummaged through the trash before escaping into the nearby woods.

Stever noted that witnesses say that during her adventures she was even hit by a car, but she remained unharmed.

For her odyssey, the bear chose a rather long way to get home. South Cherokee Park, where she was first relocated, is less than 240 miles from the Smoky Mountains Campground. Bear 609 has attracted the attention of fans around the world.

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Another Great Smoky Mountains National Park researcher, Lisa McInnis, said family members sent her photos of a bear walking down their driveway in Anderson, South Carolina.

McInnis told a local news outlet that she recognized the animal immediately, adding that "it's a small world."

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Positive black bear homecoming
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