Smokies visitors cited for feeding peanut butter to bear

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FILE — A black bear and cub share a spot in tall grass off a road in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — Some visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been accused of feeding peanut butter to a bear.

News outlets report the feeding was captured on video, and rangers said the visitors confessed and were cited on Saturday.

Rangers say the 100-pound male bear had been feeding on walnuts for several weeks along Cades Cove Loop Road. Biologists suspected it was fed by visitors because it started to appear food-conditioned. The bear was tranquilized and marked with an ear tag.

Park officials say feeding, touching, disturbing or willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards, or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, is illegal in the park.

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