Tennessee – US: A Virginia woman is facing charges after a viral TikTok video shows her feeding a black bear while vacationing in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in late September.

The video has since been taken down

According to the Tennessee wildlife resource agency (TWRA) the 21-year-old Kristin Hailee Farris of Danville, VA was seen on a video posted to TikTok on September 30 intentionally hand-feeding a black bear in Gatlinburg what appeared to watermelon, chocolate and other foods on September 30. The video was reportedly viewed more than 500,000 times.

Farris is required to return to Sevier Co. for booking

She has been charged with served with illegal bear feeding, a Class B Misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, the agency said. The woman will need to return to Sevier County to be booked on the charge.

The overwhelming desire to have a close encounter with a black bear is strangely more powerful than common sense. Many people intentionally feed bears with little regard for the dire consequences to the bears and humans they leave behind.

David Sexton – Sevier Co. Wildlife Sergeant

Since 2000, regulations have been put in place that prohibit the feeding of bears or leaving food in garbage cans that might attract bears within a six mile radius of Gatlinburg.

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