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A woman who posted a viral video of herself on TikTok while on vacation in Gatlinburg could soon be facing charges.
The woman is seen in the video hand-feeding a young black bear. The video was posted on Sept. 30.
The caption reads, “I’m that crazy redneck girl ya mama always told you about.”
The woman is shown in the video feeding the bear cub multiple types of food, including what appears to be watermelon and a piece of chocolate, among other things. The bear at one point gets close enough to sniff the camera.
As of this writing, the video currently has over 400,000 views on TikTok, and has sparked outrage from the local community for her potentially harmful actions.
The account appears to belong to a woman by the name of Kristin Farris. The profile is also being used to promote Farris’s online business pursuits, including a link to Only Fans, an adult website. Her Only Fans account profile reads “Small town girl just trying to make a livin”.
The video has caught widespread attention including, most notably, from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, according to multiple sources.
Feeding bears in the Smoky Mountains is not only discouraged, it is illegal. Intentionally coming within 150 feet of a bear in the Smoky Mountains is misdemeanor and is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The original video has been embedded below.
Tik Tok put a warning on the video that lets viewers know the action can lead to serious injuries.
Why feeding bears is bad for both bears and humans
According to the National Park Service, feeding bears or allowing access to food causes three main problems:
- Feeding a bear will change its instincts. A bear fed by humans will cause the bear to lose an instinctive fear of human beings. This will result in a bear that approaches people in search of food. Over time, bears could become unpredictable and dangerous.
- Bears can cause property damage. Bears that obtain human food cause property damage and may injure humans. Bears pose a risk to public safety.
- Bears who are fed by humans do not live as long. Studies show that bears who lose their fear of humans do not live as long as bears that feed on natural foods. When a bear is too comfortable with humans, they become easy targets for poachers, they may be hit by cars and they are more likely to be euthanized.
Tennessee laws about bears
Willfully approaching a bear within 50 yards (or 150 feet) or any distance that disturbs a bear, is illegal within the Great Smoky Mountains.
As a rule of “thumb,” it is recommended that you can hold out your arm, put your thumb up, and if your thumb does not fully cover a bear in your sight – you are too close!
How you can protect black bears
Bears are most active in the early morning and late evening hours during spring and summer.
Bears have a very keen sense of smell, so naturally, they are attracted to your garbage as well. Each guest should do his or her part in protecting the bears during a visit to the Smokies:
- Dispose of all garbage in bear-proof garbage containers
- Do not feed the wildlife
- Do not approach a bear within 50 yards or any distance that disturbs the bear
- Do not allow a bear to approach you
@southerngrlmomI’m that crazy redneck girl ya mama always told you about😘. ##tennessee ##gatlinburg ##onewithnature ##babybear ##ofans ##BaseballSzn ##differentroundhere♬ Different ‘Round Here – Riley Green
If you see a visitor breaking these rules, call (865) 436-1230 or stop at a visitor center to report it.
For more information, visit nps.gov.
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