Rock Springs Elementary School, located in the Colonial Heights community outside of Kingsport, has had more than its fair share off wildlife visiting the campus the past few weeks. Just days after a major news story about rat snakes inside and outside of the school, a black bear arrived on the playground. The playground at Rock Springs is currently closed, and the children are taking recess inside the school, according to a Thursday report on Times-News.net.
The Sullivan County elementary school is bordered on three sides by woodland, a creek and a pond. Principal Josh Davis explained that a maintenance worker saw the bear while mowing the talk grass to address the snake problem at the school. Davis, who said that he did not actually see the snakes that were killed in the school, confirmed that he did see the bear on the playground.
BearHunting.com described the Bear Attack Training held in Gatlinburg last April. It was conducted by wildlife experts from Montana and attended by wildlife experts from all over the Southeast. These attendees learned more about handling bear maulings both in the classroom and through mock attack scenarios. This same article recounts the 2006 bear attack that killed 6-year-old Flora Cenkus and almost killed her mother, Susan Cenkus, who remained in a coma for a long time.
Daryl Ratajcak, wildlife chief for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, explained to BearHunting.com that there were going to be even more attacks by black bears. The bear population in Tennessee has grown to 7,000 and climbing. "Now we have bears everywhere," Ratajczak said. He explained that bear attacks were improbable in years past, but the scenario is very different now.