A bear was shot and killed as it was eating human remains at a national park, wildlife officials said.
Park rangers found male human remains at a campsite along the Hazel Creek Trail area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina, at around 7pm on Friday.
The National Park Service said a bear was found nearby and was reportedly scavenging on human remains.
An alarm was launched after backpackers found an unoccupied tent at campsite 82 and left to get mobile phone coverage to report the incident to authorities right away.
Rangers and wildlife officers rushed to the scene after receiving the report.
When staff arrived at Backcountry Campsite 82 shortly after midnight, they confirmed the remains were of a deceased adult male.
They also euthanised the bear who was eating the human remains, according to officials.
The identity of the victim, who was visiting from out of state, has not been released.
The cause of death is still unknown.
“Rangers are currently working to notify the next of kin. The cause of death is unknown, and the case remains under active investigation,” the NPS said in a statement.
The Hazel Creek Trail between Cold Springs Gap Trail and Welch Ridge Trail remains closed while investigations are ongoing.
A 16-year-old boy was seriously injured after being mauled by a black bear in 2015 while backpacking with his father in that area in the park, Citizen Times reports.
The park, which covers a half-million acres of rugged, forested terrain across eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina, is the busiest in the National Park Service, setting a record last year with 12.5 million visitors.
Earlier this year, a young boy calmly walked away from a huge bear which had followed him out of woods in northern Italy.
Twelve-year-old Alessandro had a close encounter with the huge animal during a family picnic in the Brenta Dolomites.
Footage shows the young boy walking calmly while a brown bear’s head pokes out from the shrubbery behind him.