The DNA results from the Smoky Mountain case are bad news for hikers and campers, as it's still unclear whether there's a heightened risk of bear attacks in the area. But they're also very bad news for bears, as they highlight growing concerns over the effectiveness - and appropriateness - of state and federal wildlife policies.
Last year alone, the federal Wildlife Services killed an incredible 2.7 million animals, including 580 black bears. States killed thousands more: North Carolina and Tennessee, the two states that make up the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, allowed 2,501 and 342 bears to be killed by hunters, respectively.
The federal killings, as well as state hunting permits, are usually dealt out on the grounds of protecting humans and human interests - but they're often predicated on unfounded concern, or, as noted above, easing public fears. In Alaska, for example, a family of five black bears was sentenced to be killed in April after the mother huffed at a group of people who chased her cubs up a tree.