Don’t Forget the “Wild” in “Wildlife”

Baby bears are cute, but mama bear could hurt you!

First it was the video of the mama bear chasing tourists away from its cubs. Now it’s a teenager getting gored by a bison. When you’re in the wild, animals will be, well, wild.

So if you visit White Oak Lodge and Resort, we ask you to respect the natural environment around you. And more importantly, we implore you to be safe in the Great Smoky Mountains.

To help you have the best experience possible, we share viewing tips from the National Park Service so you can enjoy the animals who call the forest home without causing harm to them, or to you.

What can you commonly see in the Great Smoky Mountains?

  • White-tailed deer
  • Elk
  • Black bear
  • Raccoon
  • Turkeys
  • Woodchucks
  • Coyotes
  • Fox
Donald K. came across these baby cubs up in a tree during his stay at White Oak Lodge and Resort. And mama bear was close by on the ground!

If you’re lucky enough to come across wildlife, follow these tips for safe viewing.

  • Visit open areas like Cades Cove for some of the best viewing opportunities.
  • It’s advantageous to look morning and night as most animals are active in the darkness.
  • Sit quietly trailside to see what animals might meander out of the forest.
  • Scan the trees, many animals spend their days in the safety of the branches.
  • Bring your binoculars to get up close.
  • Do not feed any wild animal, no exception.
  • Do no approach animals or allow them to approach you, the cutest, cuddliest looking bear has sharp claws.
  • If you see a bear remain watchful. Do not approach it. Watch this video by the National Park Service to discover what to do should you find yourself face-to-face with a bear.

Approaching is also against the law:

Willfully approaching within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces bear or elk is prohibited.” In addition, feeding, touching, teasing, frightening, or intentionally disturbing wildlife is prohibited.

The animals that inhabit the Great Smoky Mountains are one of the reasons so many people choose to vacation at White Oak Lodge and Resort. Help us protect their habitat while keeping your family out of harm’s way by keeping these tips in mind when you visit this or any other natural park.

Have you ever come across a wild animal? What did you see and where were you? Feel free to post pictures of the amazing creatures you captured on film!

2 thoughts on “Don’t Forget the “Wild” in “Wildlife”

  1. After spending a few hours at Cades Cove recently , hoping to see bears, we seemed to just keep missing them as we were told. A little disappointed, later that evening we were driving from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg when a full grown bear began crossing the steet in front of us. We stopped, he crossed, we waited and then he crossed back again. It was so exciting but hoping he doesn’t venture into town or get hit.

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