A grizzly bear was recently hit by a car in Yellowstone National Park and was recorded limping back into the woods, according to a report from videographer Mike Godfrey, manager of wilderness website At Home in Wild Spaces, who caught the aftermath of the incident on camera.
Somewhere between Grant Village and Lewis Lake in Yellowstone, a vehicle injured a grizzly when the car collided with the bear while heading south. Kerry Gunter, lead bear biologist for Yellowstone National Park, reported that the driver of the vehicle called in the accident to rangers in Grand Teton National Park.
Godfrey and his family just happened to be driving that particular road when they came upon the injured bear lying motionless. They initially thought it was dead. Godfrey took out his camera in order to document where the bear was located. According to the video, the bear was also tagged, meaning it had been captured as part of population management efforts.
The grizzly lays groggily in the grass, lifting her head periodically and then trying to get up. She looks dazed, stumbling through the brush as she tries to put weight on her legs. It’s possible she was just confused and shaken up. But there is also the possibility that she could be seriously injured in the accident.
Grizzly Bear Hit By Car Limps Off Into Woods, Passerby Reports Incident to Yellowstone Rangers
Godfrey and his family stayed in their car, not wanting to get in the way of an injured grizzly bear. They called 911 to report the incident, then watched as the bear limped off into the woods for some time. As Godfrey states in his report, the bear’s fate is still unknown. Did she recover from the incident, incurring little more than a headache and some bruises? Or did that car do more serious damage, and did she succumb to her injuries? If park rangers found her, hopefully, they were able to assess the situation and do something for her.
But that brings us to the incident itself: hitting a grizzly bear with your car, and the importance of road safety. While in the National Parks, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings when driving. You are still in nature, even if there is a paved road through it. Animals come and go as they please, there are no fences to separate you, and sometimes a bear needs to cross the road. It’s crucial to maintain a speed that allows you to adequately stop your vehicle in enough time so as not to injure or kill wildlife.
Apparently, Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks estimate that 100 animals are killed in the parks every year. Godfrey says that our parks are being “loved to death,” and that is especially true for wildlife. Grand Teton National Park reported that “drivers involved [in wildlife collisions] were almost equally local residents and out-of-state visitors.” The report added that “speed was often the biggest factor in these collisions.”