Elizabethton apartment complex receives permit to kill bears on its property

An Elizabethton apartment complex has had a bear problem, and though the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency provided one possible solution, apartment officials are still looking for a more amicable solution.

Lynnwood and Lynnridge Apartments said they have had problems recently of bears digging through their trash and presenting a safety hazard.

“The safety and security of our residents is paramount,” spokesperson for the complex Amy Styles said.

However, she said the solution they received from the TWRA is not what they would consider ideal: a permit to shoot the two bears causing the problem.

“It is not a safe practice at a family apartment property, and it is not humane treatment of the animal,” she said.

The permit comes after several residents complained about the bears and the safety concerns associated with their open presence during the day and the mess they get into during the night.

Styles said she is hoping better securing of trash disposal and other actions will prevent the need to shoot the bears at all.

“We are consulting with our waste management service for recommendations on improved bear-proof receptacles,” Styles said. “Meanwhile, we have added additional latches on all waste receptacles at the property and posted signage reminding residents to deposit trash inside the dumpster and to securely latch the doors shut.”

The complex resides in the middle of a wooded area off of Highway 19E, at 1235 Bluefield Ave.

The TWRA’s official website says the black bear’s population has been slowly increasing in recent years after a dramatic drop.

“As bears expand into areas with suitable habitat, it is important for communities to learn how to coexist with them,” their website says.

In this scenario, the bears have been considered a danger to the residents.

“We hope that there can be a nonlethal resolution to the problem,” Styles said. “We hope the bears will realize there is no food available here and they will move on their own. If not, we will contact TWRA to humanely remove the bears.”

In the meantime, the TWRA says it encourages people to report any black bear sightings through their website, and to make sure these bears do not become dependent on humans. “Nationwide bear management experience has clearly shown that bears attracted to human food sources, or that are deliberately fed by humans, have a relatively short life,” the website said.

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