Hikers discover bear eating man at Great Smoky Mountains campsite – New York Post

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A group of hikers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ended their trek in horror after discovering a bear dining on human remains.

While walking the North Carolina arm of the Hazel Creek Trail, just a few miles from the Tennessee border, the group passed what appeared to be a deserted campsite, where they encountered a scattering of body parts. Nearby, a bear was spotted “scavenging the area,” according to a park press release.

Park rangers received a call just after 7 p.m. Friday, as soon as the hikers returned to an area with cellular coverage.

“Staff arrived at campsite 82 shortly after midnight and confirmed the report of a deceased adult human male,” park officials said, the Charlotte Observer reported Saturday.

Rescuers also saw a bear, presumably the same one spotted by hikers hours before, “actively scavenging on the remains.” They then euthanized the creature, although the cause of death cannot firmly be traced back to the bear at this time.

Local authorities have identified the victim as Patrick Madura, 43, of Elgin, Illinois, WVLT reported.

A portion of Hazel Creek Trail, between the Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail forks, will remain closed until further notice as investigators continue their work on site. Backcountry Campsite 82, where the victim was found, is also closed.

The Great Smoky Mountains website warns parkgoers to avoid coming within 50 feet of black bears, which are native to the region. If one is spotted “running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground . . . Don’t run, but slowly back away, watching the bear,” the site reads. “Increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.”

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