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Black Bear Attacks Child at Great Smoky Mountains National Park


An 8-year-old Florida boy sustained minor injuries Monday evening when attacked by a young black bear in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A bear thought to have been behind the attack was later killed by rangers.

The attack was reported about 7:30 p.m. local time along the Rainbow Falls Trail, a popular hiking trail off the Cherokee Orchard Road just south of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Rangers say Evan Pala, of Boca Raton, Florida, was playing along LeConte Creek about 300 yards up Rainbow Falls Trail from the trailhead when he was reportedly attacked twice by a bear. The boy suffered non-life-threatening cuts, scratches and puncture wounds. The boy’s father, John Pala, also of Boca Raton was able to drive off the animal with sticks and rocks, but sustained some minor injuries himself.

The boy was transported by Gatlinburg Ambulance to Fort Sanders Sevier Medical Center in Sevierville Tennessee, and the father drove to the same facility for treatment.

Based upon the father’s description of the bear and the location, Rangers went to the scene and encountered a bear that acted aggressively towards them as well. They shot the bear. They did locate a child’s shoe and a cap at the sight that they believe belonged to the family.

Park Wildlife Management personnel also responded. They described the bear as an estimated 55-pound male – probably a yearling. The animal was transported to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center for a necropsy to establish that it is the bear that attacked the child.

No names or home town are available for release at this time.



A wild animal is a wild animal, and human life comes first, if attacked by a wild animal, or the wild animal is in a residential home area, kill it. "Again the lives, and safety of people come first", "No Politically Correct Liberial Answer Here".

Not sure i should be making a comment/post since i only read a few of the comments above but, i will keep it short and to the point. I am from Knoxville born and raised here. One thing through the years i have noticed while in Cades Cove or hiking on the trails is.. the ones who approach the bears are Not from here. Education is the point i am trying to get across here. Never approach any wild life! Stop trying to to get that close up picture of the bears etc.! I have been all across the States and, other Countries. ...Including the Rockies... Respect and Educate yourself on wild life. It's not my intention to offend Anyone but, i just hate to see things happen that could have been prevented!
Enjoy your stay in the Smokies or where ever you visit but, educate yourself on your surroundings.
Blessings to all!

You are so right!! It's really unfortunate that the young bear was put down. I am glad the young boy is okay! It is rarely heard of that a black bear "a young one" at that would be that aggressive. Being from K-town/Smoky Mountain area i never heard that before. Kinda different... walking upon a momma bear protecting her cubs is what i watch out for. But, it all goes back to what you said... be aware of your surroundings and, don't approach the bears (or any wildlife). Respect their territory! Thankful the boy is okay and, sad for the bear!

Are you serious? A boy was attacked. Maybe the bear was in the boys territory

okayy anonymous...i want you to put your self in the shoes of that boy that was attacked.... you would want any bear killed if that had happened to you. and care about the bears...they shouldnt be attacking people... many stories that i have read, its little children being attacked and many people have been mauled to death... they say that many times the bear has consumed most the body before emergency personal can get there in time to shoot the bear.
no one should ever have to go through an attack of any kind like that.. there is no way of getting out of a bear cant climb a tree because they are expert climbers, you cant swim because they will get you... and you can't run because they will defiantly catch you.... just be aware of your surroundings....i recommend a knife on your person (doubt it will help but its better than nothing), pepper spray (if you honestly live that long and get to be that close to a bear), and good luck for all those people going into bear country.... your in my prayers (risk takers and people who have suffered or who have had people suffer). thanks for your time.... go have an adventure!!!

When a bear attacks a human, you kill the bear. It's as simple as that. Yes, they are magnificant animals and I love them too, but this bear was obviously trying to eat the 8 year old boy. I bring Bear Spray and a 12 ga slug gun with me when I go into bear country. I'm not looking for an encounter with a bear and I certainly don't plan to hurt an animal, but I have an 8 year old son too and there's no way I'm not going to be prepared to protect my family.

well evan was my boyfriend and i am not kidding he does come to my neighborhood a couple times a week and i am so sad that he got attack but now he only has scares and he has recovered fine oh yeah just so you know he lost six pints of blood

This is the latest word as of about an hour ago: Bear Spray is illegal BUT it's up to each ranger if they want to change you with having it or not.

The official park statement in writing is here:

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