Wildlife enthusiasts are asking drivers to be bear-aware after a 600-pound black bear was killed when it was hit by a car on a highway in North Carolina.
The North Carolina Bear Festival, which aims to celebrate the state’s black bears, posted about the accident on Facebook.
According to the post, a car was on the highway around 5:15 a.m. Monday near Plymouth, North Carolina, when it slammed into the bear, killing it.
“One of the challenges when driving on any highway is seeing a black bear on a black asphalt road on a black night. They are very difficult to see, to say the least,” the post said.
Although the driver was not hurt, the front of the car was completely crushed in the collision.
Festival organizers warn that bears are becoming more active around this time of year, with peak activity from mid-May to mid-July.
“We have an expanding human population and an expanding black bear population that are literally colliding on our highways in Eastern NC,” the post read. “In 1972 there (were) only 2 bears killed on NC highways. In 2011, there were 272 bears killed on NC highways.”
The North Carolina Department of Transportation, with help from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, installed the first and only black bear overpasses in the state on a portion the highway where the accident occurred to reduce animal fatalities.
“The bottom line here is ‘Be Bear Aware’ when you are driving here in Bear-olina,” the festival post said.
According to the festival website, North Carolina has the largest black bears and the highest black bear densities in the world.
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