A bear has been shot and killed by rangers after it was discovered feasting on human remains in a US national park, wildlife officials have confirmed.
Campers raised the alarm after discovering an empty tent and National Park Services were scrambled to the scene.
There, they found the fully-grown black bear eating remains which were later confirmed to be those of an adult male.
The shocking incident took place in the Hazel Creek Trail area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina on Friday evening.
Officials said they shot the bear dead because it was “actively scavenging” on the remains.
The man’s cause of death isn’t yet known and his identity hasn’t been released, but he is believed to have been visiting from out of state.
In a statement, the National Parks Service said: “Rangers are currently working to notify the next of kin.
“The cause of death is unknown and the case remains under active investigation.”
Officials have closed down a section of the trail in the meantime while investigations are ongoing.
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits in half a million acres of difficult forested terrain straddling the state borders of Tennessee and North Carolina.
It is the busiest park in the United States, and last year saw a record 12.5 million visitors.
The death comes exactly two years after another black bear was found scavenging on human remains in the Great Smoky Mountains Park.
In this instance, officials set the animal loose after putting a tracking collar on it but killed it five days later out of concern for visitors.
An autopsy found the man had died of a meth overdose, and it was concluded the bear probably didn’t attack him while he was alive.
In 2015, a 16-year-old boy was seriously injured in the park after being mauled by a black bear while backpacking with his dad.
Bear attacks are fortunately extremely rare, but the animals can spark alarm when they come close to humans.
In May this year, a black bear broke into a cabin and gorged on sweets, much to the shock of the woman staying there.
The bizarre incident, which also took place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, resulted in the poor animal getting tasered.