Asking, “Why did the bear cross the road?” was not the set-up of a joke in Gaitlinburg, Tenn., this weekend, but a real question.
The bear in question was a black bear cub that was caught on camera walking the city’s streets as if it was a local resident, climbing up the steps of the local convention center and even following the crosswalk to cross the street.
Tricia Alexander, of Powell, Tenn., captured a video of the bear on Saturday that she then posted to her Facebook page.
Alexander, who could not immediately be reached for comment by ABCNews.com, shot the two-minute video of the bear from inside the safety of her own car. But not everyone had the good sense to keep their distance.
As the bear made its way through the city’s streets, weaving in and out of restaurant-goers, people clamored to come within just feet of it in order to get a good picture of the oddity with their cell phone cameras.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people in our society are getting more desensitized to wild animals as we move more and more into this digital age, and we don’t actually get out into the woods, so you don’t encounter these animals very frequently except for on TV,” Dr. Marcy Souza of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine told local ABC affiliate WATE.
“Although he looks cute and cuddly, they can actually be pretty fierce,” Souza said. “That bear probably weighed somewhere in the range of 80 pounds would be my guess, and they can do some serious damage if he got cornered as he did in some of those situations.”
A commenter on Alexander’s Facebook post wrote that he works near where the video was shot and the bear, “comes around all the time.”
Alexander herself commented that she had another encounter with a bear on the streets of Gaitlinburg in 1997, that one in a hotel parking lot.
“Just call me the bear whisperer !!!!lol,” she wrote.
The bear eventually found its way home. It is seen at the end of the video running towards a wooded area, leaving a camera-holding crowd of humans in its dust.