SEVIER COUNTY, Tenn. – A bear trapped in an East Tennessee car was likely killed by heat exposure inside the vehicle, wildlife officials say.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said the black bear was found dead inside a car at a Sevierville rental cabin on Wednesday.
"It appears that the bear got inside the car by using its teeth or paws to open the unlocked door and was trapped inside after the door shut behind it," the agency said in a Facebook post.
A wildlife officer said that the car's owner left the cabin in a different vehicle about 10 a.m. and found the bear lifeless after returning at 6:45 p.m.
Outside temperatures at the time exceeded 95 degrees while the vehicle's interior potentially reached over 140 degrees.
"Notice the empty soda can and food package on the floorboard," the agency pointed out. "Bears have noses 7 times better than a bloodhound and can smell even the faintest odor of food inside a vehicle."
Help keep bears out of trouble
Wildlife experts are reminding people to lock their doors, roll up their windows and never leave food or anything that smells like food inside their vehicle.
Empty food containers, candy wrappers, fast food bags, and even air fresheners can attract bears.
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