Black bears sighted in West Tennessee

Imagine looking out in your corn field and seeing this...a black bear.  Video shot by a Tennessee Wildlife Resources agent near Paris Tennessee shows the black bear.  West Tennessee residents spotted the bear several times and called TWRA.

Alan Peterson with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency says, "Some expressed concern obviously that there was a bear wandering around. They were questioning whether it was a safe situation for families."

The bear was first spotted in the Dyersburg area.

Wildlife Resources Agents say the bear continued to move through West Tennessee and they really became concerned when it made it to downtown Paris."

Agents say the bear moved from Dyersburg to Newbern, then Martin and then downtown Paris following the railroad tracks where black berries grow.
Downtown Paris was the last stop.

It was captured sent to the Memphis zoo then back to Arkansas where it came from. 
It is not clear why the bear started moving getting 3 to 400 miles away from its home. 
It had a cub at one time.  They say there are 500 black bears in the White River area in Arkansas about 80 or 90 miles south of Memphis.

Peterson continues, "If there are that many bears not that far south of Memphis and that population continues to grow and expand in another decade or so there may be a population of black bears in North Mississippi and West Tennessee as the population grows."

Alan Peterson says they don't mind swimming the Mississippi River.