I just wanted to give an update with regards to a couple of follow-up details on the bear attack that occurred near Gatlinburg on Monday evening.
As was widely reported yesterday, an eight-year-old Florida boy was attacked by a bear near the trailhead of the Rainbow Falls Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The boy required 35 stitches and staples for wounds to his arms, torso and the back of his head.
I read some speculation on a popular forum that there was a possibility that the boy somehow provoked the bear. This doesn't seem to be the case. Based on reports from the boy and his father it sounds like the attack was completely unprovoked. The family was simply taking photos by the creek near the trailhead when the bear appeared from behind a tree, as reported by the young boy.
The bear actually attacked the boy twice. Both times the boy's father and his 10-year-old brother had to fight it off with sticks and rocks.
The bear was originally reported as a young cub weighing 55 pounds. Today's Orlando Sentinel article reports the bear as being a young male weighing in at 86 pounds, making him a yearling.
Within minutes of the attack forest rangers were on the scene. They found a bear in the vicinity that acted aggressively and shot it. Although they're fairly certain that this was the same bear that attacked the boy, they won't know for sure until a necropsy is performed.
The linked article also includes a short video interview with the boy, his father and his brother.