Motorists Reminded to Slow Down and Be Vigilant after Two Bears Hit Sunday
Two bears died yesterday in Grand Teton National Park after they were struck by passing vehicles. The first, an adult female black bear, was struck on U.S. Highway 89 north of the Deadman’s Bar Road Junction on Sunday, June 19 around 7:30 p.m. The second, a male grizzly bear cub of the year, known to photographers as Snowy, was hit later the same evening on the North Park Road (U.S. Highway 89) between the Pilgrim Creek Road Junction and Colter Bay Junction.
The circumstances preceding the incidents are unknown as the motorists did not stop or report the incident in either case. Motorists are reminded that any collisions with wildlife must be reported as soon as possible to Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307.739.3301.
Teton Interagency Dispatch Center received a report from a passerby of an adult grizzly bear removing a cub from the roadway just before 10:00 p.m. Sunday night. Rangers responded to the scene, just south of Colter Bay Junction, and confirmed that an adult grizzly bear had removed a cub from the roadway. Grand Teton wildlife biologists searched the area in the early morning hours on Monday, June 20. The biologists discovered the deceased cub, which weighed between 40 and 50 pounds, approximately 40 yards off the road and removed it from the area. The bear’s carcass will be preserved and used for educational purposes.
A total of 37 animals are known to have been struck by vehicles on park roadways in 2016. One grizzly bear cub, two black bears, nine deer, two bison, nine elk, two coyotes, and one red fox were involved in those collisions, which do not always involve a confirmed mortality. Over 100 large wildlife are known to be hit on park roadways annually, with 118 in 2015 and 115 in 2014.
“These unfortunate incidents are an important reminder for all of us to slow down and be vigilant when we travel through the park,” said Superintendent David Vela. “Especially with the traffic levels that we are seeing during this busy season, it’s important to obey posted speed limits, maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles, and be especially watchful around dawn and dusk when wildlife are more active`.”
In addition to caution and vigilance on park roads, park visitors are reminded not to approach or interfere with park wildlife. The safe viewing distance for bears and wolves is 100 yards, while all other wildlife should be given at least 25 yards of space.