Adult Grizzly Struck and Killed By Motorist In Yellowstone National Park

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.

Comments

I don't think that anyone should be driving motor vehicles in Yellowstone at 2am; I'd favor a curfew from 10pm-6am or so to protect wildlife.

If the driver needed to be driving at 2am, we need to figure out how to adjust lodging for employees or whatever the cause was to eliminate the need.

I have to agreed with the person that posted the email about possible curfew times. I hate to think of all the suffering the bear endured before passing away. People need to slow down and be very cautious while driving day or night. The animals in all the National Parks are a joy to see and need as much protection as possible.

I am thankful that the motorist who hit the bear was smart enough to stay in his car and to report the accident.

No we do NOT need curfews! The last thing I want is the federal government controlling another aspect of our lives. C'mon people, you know curfews aren't a good idea. Just drive cautiously and chances of this reoccurring are diminished proportionately to how many people heed more caution.

We were just at Yellowstone last month. The speed limit is 25 mph. The area still is snow covered and many areas are still not able to be accessed. You really have to wonder what someone was doing out at 2 a.m.

Aznana3:
I have to agreed with the person that posted the email about possible curfew times. I hate to think of all the suffering the bear endured before passing away. People need to slow down and be very cautious while driving day or night. The animals in all the National Parks are a joy to see and need as much protection as possible.
A curfew would be unmanageable in a place as big as Yellowstone. There are legitimate reasons for someone driving so late. There are evening ranger programs that start at 9:30 PM. Someone staying in another part of the park or outside would be trapped or perhaps would require an escort? Some come to enjoy the nighttime sky and might be coming back late. There are also legitimate reasons to arrive early at a trailhead for a long dayhike. There could be someone staying inside Yellowstone who was had dinner outside. It's unfortunate that a bear died, but that's the risk taken anytime cars are allowed.

Certainly at Grand Teton NP, I recall a ranger recommending that those driving after a campfire program should drive 10 MPH under the speed limit to reduce the chance of running over wildlife. I've also been to the Florida Keys, where they have a posted reduced nighttime speed limit. I don't know of any full national parks that

The NPS sites that I know have posted hours are pretty small, where there's no more than a few miles of road to check. Pinnacles NM has parking lot that closes, but where there's a one-way electric gate that lets out people after hours. It's certainly easier to close off a parking lot than a large area such as Yellowstone.

"You have to wonder what someone was doing out at 2 am." Really? Why? What is wrong with being out at that hour of the morning? It certainly must be easier to navigate the busy roads without all the other visitors on the road. Its not breaking a law to be out at 2 in the morning, and heaven forbid they should make such a law. And what could you possibly care that someone was out at 2 in the morning? Its dark at 9:30 at night and could have easily hit a bear then also - would that constitute your saying you have to wonder what they were doing out at 9:30 at night?