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Bear found scavenging on remains of Elgin man at North Carolina campsite

Backpackers found his remains scattered across a trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
USA Today file photo

A bear was found eating the remains of an Elgin man Friday near a campsite in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina.

The remains were of Patrick Madura, 43, although it’s unclear if he was mauled to death by the bear or died by another means, according to National Park Service spokeswoman Jamie Sanders.

Backpackers found Madura’s remains along Hazel Creek Trail near an unoccupied tent at campsite 82, Sanders said in a statement.

They saw a nearby bear “scavenging” the area and left the area to get a cellular signal and call authorities, she said.

Rangers responding to the call euthanized a bear that was “actively scavenging on the remains,” Sanders said.

In an interview, Sanders said the bear was euthanized because bears that have scavenged on humans may pose a serious risk of doing it again.

“We never want bears to associate people with food,” she said.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Madura was camping by himself, Sanders said.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park encompasses about 800 square miles of the southern Appalachian Mountains, according to the park’s website.

A portion of Hazel Creek Trail near the incident will remain closed until further notice, Sanders said.