Bear euthanized after visitor hit it in Glacier National Park but never reported crash

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A healthy bear was struck by a tourist on a popular scenic drive and had to be euthanized, park rangers said.

The black bear was walking in Glacier National Park on Thursday when a driver hit it, the Montana park rangers said. The bear was struck on the popular scenic route, Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The bear had “unsurvivable traumatic injuries” from the contact with the car, and wildlife officials euthanized the bear.

“A field necropsy revealed a severely broken jaw, an injured foreleg and a potentially damaged ribcage and lung area,” park rangers said Monday in a news release. “The male bear was estimated to be 2.5-5 years old and appeared to be in otherwise good health.”

The driver didn’t report the accident. Park rangers don’t know how the bear got hit, but it was found in an area with thick vegetation near the road.

The vegetation could have obscured the bear’s movement, and it could have contributed to the accident, park rangers said.

“While traveling in the park, it is important to remember that all roadways traverse wildlife habitat and speed limits should be observed for the safety of not only people, but wildlife as well,” park rangers said.

Going-to-the Sun Road is a 50-mile scenic road that takes two hours to drive, according to the National Park Service. Wildlife, especially mountain goats and bighorn sheep, is common along the road.

Park tourists should always report any accidents in the park. Leaving the carcass could attract other wildlife or put other tourists in danger, park rangers said.

“Slower speeds allow drivers more time to react to the movements of wildlife that may be obscured from immediate view,” rangers said. “If you have a motor vehicle incident in the park, report it to the nearest Ranger or Visitor Center.”

This isn’t the first time a bear has been hit by a tourist in a national park.

In July, a 6-month-old cub was fatally struck by a car and left on the side of the road to die in Yosemite National Park, according to the Fresno Bee.

“We get this call a lot — too much, to be honest,” Yosemite rangers said in July. “Bear hit by vehicle, dead on the side of the road.”

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