A black bear that spent three weeks roaming Cocke County with a large plastic jar stuck over its head has been released in the Cherokee National Forest 85 pounds lighter but otherwise unharmed.
The male bear's predicament was first reported June 28 when an employee of Newport Utilities spotted the bear near the Newport water plant. Wildlife officials believe the bear's head got stuck in the large plastic jar while it was foraging in garbage.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded the next day but could not locate the animal. Almost one week later, on July 4, wildlife officers responded to reports that the bear was back in the same area, but again the bear disappeared.