The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and USDA Forest Service Officials announced that DNA testing had identified the second bear of two that were captured as the one responsible for a fatal attack earlier this year in the Cherokee National Forest.
The samples gathered from both bears were test under a variety of test at numerous locations. Sample collected from under the second bears claws came back positive for human DNA. And since bear attacks and physical human encounters are extremely rare and since evidence fairly rapidly disappears it can be concluded that this indeed is the bear responsible for the death and mauling that too place earlier this spring.
In addition to the DNA test done on samples from under the claws of the bears test on the bears hair vs bear hair collected at the attack scene. But these test came back incunclusive mainly due to lack of enough sample hair.
Also a Forensic Dentist examined photos of the bite marks of both victims and determined that the second bear trapped had teeth that matched the photographic evidence. This evidence was strong enough by itself to 100% implicate the bear but if the bites left did not match it would have been strong evidence that the wrong bear had been caught. This point is hammered home when it was concluded that both bears trapped had teeth of the appropriate size to match the wounds in the photos.
The second bear was trapped less than a mile from where the attacks occured. Again not conclusive proof but circumstantial evidence that supports the DNA findings.
With this evidence in hand the male was put down and the USDA Forest Service again opened the Chilhowee Mountain to the public. It had been closed since the attacks.
Monday, June 19. 2006
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