GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, N.C. -- An investigation is underway at a Great Smoky Mountains National Park campsite after backpackers found a bear scavenging human remains.
On Friday afternoon, hikers first discovered an unoccupied tent along Hazel Creek Trail, according to park officials. Shortly after, hikers found a bear scavenging what appeared to be human remains across a creek.
The hikers quickly left the scene to get cell coverage and report the encounter to local authorities.
RELATED: Bear sightings up in North Carolina; tips to avoid unwanted encounters
Staff received the report shortly after 7 p.m., where law enforcement rangers and wildlife officers immediately responded to the scene. Rangers euthanized the bear after observing it actively scavenging the remains.
As for the remains, officials said the man was from out-of-state and are working to alert next of kin. The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Bear euthanized after found scavenging on human remains near Great Smoky Mountains National Park campsite