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Mother, 21, faces six months in prison for HAND-FEEDING a black bear watermelon and chocolate


Mother, 21, faces six months in prison for HAND-FEEDING a black bear watermelon and chocolate in Tennessee after she shared video of the encounter on TikTok

  • The footage of Kristin Hailee Farris, 21, of Danville, Virginia, feeding the wild animal confectionery was captured in Gatlinburg on September 30
  • Farris is seen in the video crouching low in front of the bear on a porch, holding out squares of chocolate, a slice of watermelon and a cream filled cake
  • The cub is then seen eating the food directly out of her hands and at one point gets close enough to Farris to sniff the camera she’s holding 
  • Charges were filed against her for illegal black bear feeding as a result 
  • Farris faces up to six months in jail and a $500 fine is she’s found guilty

A Virginia mother has been criminally charged after she was seen in a viral TikTok video hand-feeding a black bear chocolate and watermelon while on vacation in Tennessee.

The footage of Kristin Hailee Farris, 21, of Danville, Virginia, feeding the wild animal confectionery was captured in Gatlinburg on September 30, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association said Friday.

Farris is seen in the video crouching low in front of the bear on a porch, holding out squares of chocolate, a slice of watermelon and what appears to be a small cream-filled sponge cake, as the cub eats the food from her palm.

At one point, the bear gets close enough to Farris to sniff the camera she’s holding. 

Farris was charged with illegal black bear feeding after TWRA officers were made aware of the video and carried out an investigation.

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The footage of Kristin Hailee Farris, 21, of Danville, Virginia, feeding the wild animal confectionary was captured in Gatlinburg on September 30, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association said Friday.

Farris is seen in a social media profile picture above

The footage of Kristin Hailee Farris, 21, of Danville, Virginia, feeding the wild animal confectionary was captured in Gatlinburg on September 30, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Association said Friday

At one point, the bear gets close enough to Farris to sniff the camera she¿s holding

At one point, the bear gets close enough to Farris to sniff the camera she’s holding

Wildlife officials said that since 2000, regulations have forbidden people from feeding bears or leaving food in garbage cans in a manner that attracts them.

The rule applies to a six-mile radius around Gatlinburg and is intended to discourage the creatures from entering the city.

Farris faces up to six months in jail and a $500 fine is she’s found guilty of the Class B Misdemeanor charge.

‘The overwhelming desire to have a close encounter with a black bear is strangely more powerful than common sense,’ Sevier County Wildlife Sgt. David Sexton said in a statement announcing the charges.

‘Many people intentionally feed bears with little regard for the dire consequences to the bears and humans they leave behind.’

The mother-of-one is required to return to Sevier County for booking, officials say.

TikTok, meanwhile, has put a warning on the video that tells viewers the action in it can lead to serious injuries but it has not taken the footage down. 

The video was captioned ‘I’m that crazy redneck girl ya mama always told you about,’ accompanied by a number of hashtags, including ‘#OneWithNature’.

It has since been viewed more than 500,000 times, 

Farris is seen in the video crouching low in front of the bear on a porch, holding out squares of chocolate, a slice of watermelon and what appears to be a small cream-filled sponge cake, as the cub eats the food from her palm.

Farris shown feeding the creature what looked like a cream filled cake

Farris is seen in the video crouching low in front of the bear on a porch, holding out squares of chocolate, a slice of watermelon and what appears to be a small cream-filled sponge cake, as the cub eats the food from her palm.

Farris faces up to six months in jail and a $500 fine is she¿s found guilty of the Class B Misdemeanor charge.

Wildlife officials said that since 2000, regulations have forbidden people from feeding bears or leaving food in garbage cans in a manner that attracts them

Farris faces up to six months in jail and a $500 fine is she’s found guilty of the Class B Misdemeanor charge

A subsequent video that Farris posted on the social media platform on October 10 indicated that authorities had told her she would not be criminally charged. It was not immediately clear what changed.

Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency are also issuing their own public warnings about the dangers of feeding wild bears.

‘For decades, we’ve associated bears with something soft and cute and cuddly,’ Matt Cameron of TWRA told WBIR. ‘They are beautiful, fascinating animals. But at the same time, they are wild animals with very powerful jaws, with big muscles and with claws. They can hurt you, you know there have been people killed by black bears.’

Officials with the National Park Service said that bears that are fed human food over time may become bold or aggressive in their attempts to obtain more, which will lead to them becoming a threat to public safety.

They said that people should make sure their food is properly stored if they’re in an area where bears are known to live and reminded people not to feed wildlife.

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