A late-night collision between a grizzly bear and a vehicle in Yellowstone National Park killed the bear, according to park officials.
The bear, a male estimated to be between 15 and 25 years old and weighing 417 pounds, was hit about 2 a.m. on June 2 along the Grand Loop Road near Fountain Paint Pot Drive, according to park officials.
The unidentified driver was heading from Old Faithful to Canyon Village when the accident occurred. The motorist reported to the Canyon Ranger Station that the bear limped off the road after being struck. The driver did not leave the vehicle to investigate the bear’s condition.
After an unsuccessful attempt by rangers to locate the bear on Thursday, it was found dead Friday in a ditch near the Fountain Paint Pot drive by a park visitor, a park press release said. Members of Yellowstone’s bear management team were then called in to collect, analyze and dispose of the bear.
This is the first grizzly bear vehicle-caused mortality reported in Yellowstone this year.
It is estimated there are roughly 150 grizzlies with home ranges that include portions of the park; approximately 600 are believed to live in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
More than 100 large animals are killed in the park each year after being struck by vehicles. Visitors are encouraged to look for and expect wildlife along the roadside, follow the posted speed limit, and increase caution at night or during poor weather.