A video recorded on TikTok could yield up to 6 months in prison for Kristin Hailee Farris. On vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, she posted a video on her app feeding a black bear in a nature reserve. The act is considered a crime and can lead to a fine of US $ 500, about R $ 2800, and up to 6 months in prison.
The 21-year-old published the video on her TikTok on September 30. In the publication with more than 500 thousand views, she fed the bear with watermelon, chocolate and some other foods. According to a press release from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, the agency responsible for the reserve, activity endangers both humans and animals.
Illegal feeding of bears is a ‘class B’ offense in Tennessee. Sought by American CNN, Kristin did not comment on the charges. She will be prosecuted for the crime that can lead to a fine of $ 500, about R $ 2800, and up to 6 months in prison.
Gatlinburg is a tourist town located in the mountains east of Tennessee. Due to the proximity to nature, sightings of wild animals are frequent in the place.
Regulations were put in place in the year 2000, prohibiting anyone from feeding black bears or leaving food, or trash, in a way that could attract bears, the Wildlife Resources Agency said.
The regulations apply to an area of 9.6 square meters in Gatlinburg and aim to “create a buffer zone to prevent bears from approaching the city if they are not fed”, as the statement states.
“The overwhelming desire to have a close encounter with a black bear is strangely more powerful than common sense,” says wildlife sergeant David Sexton. “Many people intentionally feed bears, regardless of the dire consequences for bears and humans that it might leave behind.”