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Yearling Bear Dies in Traffic Accident

yearling bear

Complications caused by park visitors seeking to view a grizzly bear along a road in Grand Teton National Park Thursday resulted in a motor vehicle accident that caused the death of the bear and the brief hospitalization a motorist.  According to Park Spokesperson Jackie Skaggs, the accident took place about 9:00 am one mile south of the Snake River Overlook on US Highway 26/89/191.  Skaggs says the driver of the vehicle that struck the bear said he was trying to avoid another vehicle that was preparing to make a U-turn in order to view the bear.  In the process of trying to avoid that vehicle, he lost control and rolled his car – apparently strike the bear in the accident.  The bear died as a result of the injuries it sustained in that vehicle accident. The unidentified driver was taken to St. John’s Medical Center where he was treated and released.  Skaggs says the incident is still under investigation, but she points out the behaviors of those viewing animals in the park can potentially have some serious consequences.  Things like throwing a door open in the face of oncoming traffic, making a sudden stop or stopping in the lane of traffic, or pulling out of or into a viewing area without making sure the way is clear can lead to a serious accident.  She says such a scenario may have been the case in this incident.  Skaggs says Park biologists are collecting samples from the young bear including hair and tissue samples to submit for DNA testing in order to determine if this bear may have been one of the celebrated yearling cubs of tagged bear 399.

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