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Yellowstone National Park News Release

August 27, 2004 04-89

Bear Cub Found Dead Along US-191

Another black bear has been struck and killed by a vehicle in Yellowstone National Park.

A Montana Department of Transportation employee reported spotting the dead animal on US-191 on Monday, August 16th. Rangers responded to the scene and found a dead black bear along the road just inside the park’s northwest boundary. There was no question that the cub-of-the year had been struck and killed by a car or truck.

Five black bears – including three cubs – have died in motor vehicle accidents this summer. That’s five times the annual average. “These were all wild, wary bears,” said Yellowstone bear management specialist Kerry Gunther. “They are considered to be at lower risk for vehicle accidents than roadside habituated bears.”

The four previous accidents all happened at dusk, after dark or during bad weather; all situations that limit the driver’s ability to see a bear on the road in time to avoid striking the animal.

The whitebark pine trees didn’t produce many cones with nuts this year. Whitebark pine nuts are a favorite and important fall food of bears. “This means more bears are likely to be seen along park roads this fall as they forage for food,” said Gunther.

An adult black bear was killed on the road between West Yellowstone and Madison in early July. Two cubs were killed on the road south of Mammoth Hot Springs in mid June. A female bear was struck and killed on the road between Canyon and Norris last week.

Park visitors and employees are encouraged to be especially cautious when driving through the park from dusk to dawn or in rain or snow, because wildlife are more difficult to see under those conditions. Drivers who accidentally strike an animal in the park are asked to report the incident at the nearest ranger station.

- NPS -

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Last Updated: Friday, 27-Aug-04 15:19:06 /yell/press/0489.htm