Montana rangers plea with motorists to drive slower with release of heartbreaking picture of bloodied mother grizzly and her two cubs hit and killed by a speeding car
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- Tribal conservation agency released photo to raise awareness of bear crossings
- Female bear and her two cubs were killed on Flathead Reservation late Friday
- Third cub who was orphaned by the vehicle collision will be placed in zoo
A photo showing the tragic aftermath of a vehicle impact that killed a mother grizzly bear and her two cubs has been released as a warning to drivers.
The family group was killed around 11pm on Friday on the Flathead Reservation in Montana, a tribal conservation agency said in a statement urging drivers to use extra caution at night.
‘We realize this image invokes strong emotions in people, it does for us too,’ the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Wildlife Management Program said.
‘We encourage drivers, locals and visitors, to be cautious when driving through the Flathead Indian Reservation. All our wildlife resources are important to us as are the lives of the people traveling through,’ the agency said.
The fatal collision occurred on US 93 south of Ronan. The adult female killed was wearing a radio collar that had helped conservation officers track her movements around the reservation.
The two cubs which were killed were a male and a female, officials said.
A third cub belonging to the family group was found and captured on Saturday. Fearing that the cub will not survive in the wild on its own, tribal conservation officers are currently seeking a zoo to take the animal in.
The crash brings to four the number of grizzly deaths this year on a 13-mile stretch of US 93, officials said.
Throughout the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, a region encompassing the northwest section of Montana, 12 grizzly bears have been killed in vehicle collisions so far in 2018.
Conservation officials said they are continuing to work with state and federal partners to build more wildlife crossing structures over and under US 93 to allow for safe animal migration.
While other stretches of the highway have such crossing structures, the area where the mother grizzly and cubs were killed does not.
‘These accidents are not only about being aware and slowing down. Wildlife are unpredictable and short, dark colored bears crossing US 93 at night can be next to impossible to see until it is too late traveling at highway speed,’ CSKT said.
‘Please be cautious and call emergency personnel if you are involved in an accident or if an animal is left on any highway were another driver might also hit it.’