Wildlife officials are skeptical of a Tennessee man’s story that he was attacked and injured by a large animal.
Michael Savage, 27, reports that he was attacked early on Friday by an animal with dark, coarse hair.
In an interview with local news affiliate WATE, Savage said the animal grabbed him, and in a tussle with the creature, he was able to stab it multiple times with a knife, but sustained injuries that required 132 stitches.
Officials with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency (TWRA) responded by issuing a bear warning and installing a trap in the area, but were unable to confirm the attack was caused by a bear.
After conducting an investigation, the TWRA said there is zero evidence that Savage was attacked by a wild animal.
“If he were able to stab it, there should be blood, there should be hair, there should be a blood trail,” said Matt Cameron, an official with the TWRA.
“There are no defensive wounds on him. There’s no bite marks; they’re all lacerations. People that have been attacked by a bear will have bite marks on them, on their arms, their hands, on their back, and he just doesn’t have that.”
The TWRA has not confirmed if the injuried were self-inflicted, but stated that if Savage knowingly filed a false report, it would constitute a “considerable crime.”
Confronted with the TWRA’s findings, Savage is sticking to his story. “I was very terrified. I was very scared,” Savage told WATE. “It scared me a lot.”
Authorites stated they will continue investigating until Friday, but assured the public they have no clear reason to fear a bear attack.