A bear that had wandered onto a Colorado college campus in April -- and was safely removed after it was tranquilized while perched in a tree -- was struck and killed by two cars Friday morning.
The bear had been tranquilized, tagged and removed from the University of Colorado at Boulder on April 25. The capture was recorded on video, and the bear, woozy from the tranquilizer, plummeted from the tree and landed on a pad set out to break its fall.
The bear traveled more than two miles over the course of a week to get back to Boulder, where it could easily find food, said Jennifer Churchill, spokeswoman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The bear was crossing U.S. 36 at around 5:40 a.m. when it was hit. The same officer who had tranquilized the bear and watched as it gracefully fell through the air nine days earlier responded to the call, Churchill said.
“This is the worst part of our job. It’s disheartening,” she said in an interview.
Described as calm and fairly young, the bear had not gotten into trouble or acted aggressively. But the allure of food was apparently too hard to resist.
Churchill said she hoped the incident would serve as a learning experience for the public. Items such as trash, bird feeders, pet food and fallen fruit can easily be removed from property to avoid attracting bears, she said.
“We really need citizens to step up and give bears a chance,” Churchill said.
More than a dozen bears are removed from the area each year, Churchill said. Many come back and, like this bear, end up dead -- killed in traffic accidents or put down by authorities.
Depending on the condition of its body, the bear’s pelt may be used as an educational tool.