The Big Bend National Park is urging all visitors to be mindful of wildlife while driving after a bear cub was struck and killed by a car. The Park took to social media earlier this week to post about the incident.
“PLEASE observe the posted speed limits in the park,” the post reads. “One of the bear cubs in this family was struck and killed by a car Friday afternoon on the road to the Chisos Basin. Let’s give the other two cubs a fighting chance!”
In addition to the bear cubs, the park warns about other animals such as coyotes in the area. “The coyotes are also hanging out along the roadway. For their safety and survival, don’t feed them. Always be on the lookout for jackrabbits and cottontails. They think they’re a lot faster than they really are. By observing the posted speed limit, you get a chance to see wildlife and the wildlife get a chance to move out of the way.”
After sharing the sad news, thousands of Facebook users took to the comments to share their reactions. One user wrote about an encounter with a bear while driving at night they claim to have experienced at Big Bend.
“I almost hit a bear on that road. It was at night. I was traveling less than 15 miles an hour,” the user writes. “The bear ran across the road in front of me, got to the side and then reversed itself and crossed back again immediately. I had stopped but started again once it was across. I came so close to hitting it when it reversed itself. Have to keep in mind they belong here we are the guests. Be careful out there.”
How to React If You See a Bear at Big Bend
According to the National Park Service, approximately 30 to 40 black bears live in Big Bend. A bear cub is typically born in February weighing less than a pound. However, they don’t emerge from their dens until April. Many bear cubs gain around 30 pounds during their first summer.
On the Big Bend National Park website, the rangers explain the best way to handle encounters with bears. Here’s what the park says to do if you see a bear:
- Remain watchful.
- Do not approach a bear. Give it plenty of space.
- Do not allow the bear to approach you.
- If your presence causes the bear to change its behavior (stops feeding, changes its travel direction, watches you, etc.) you are too close.
- Being too close may promote aggressive behavior from the bear such as running toward you, making loud noises, or swatting the ground. The bear is demanding more space.
- Don’t run, but slowly back away. Stand together, make yourself look big, and continue watching the bear.
- Increase the distance between you and the bear. The bear will probably do the same.
Also this week, a man was mauled to death by a bear in Alaska. The incident was the first of its kind at the national park. Learn more here.