A young bear that became an Internet sensation after falling from a tree has died after being hit by a car. It was a whirlwind week for the bear, which shot to prominence last week when it climbed into a tree near the University of Colorado campus, then fell to safety after being tranquilized by local police.
The Denver Post reports that the 208-pound black bear had wandered into the Denver-bound lanes of U.S. highway 36 when a vehicle struck it at 5:40 Thursday morning.
"It's a bummer. It's so hard to go through this and not be able to give these bears a good place to live," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill. "The community sees relocating bears as a kind of perfect solution, and unfortunately it's a really difficult proposition."
Churchill said authorities were able to identify the bear by an ear tag that had been placed on him after the tree incident last week.
After it was safely removed from the tree near the CU campus, wildlife officials had relocated the bear to a wilderness area about 50 miles west of Boulder, according to the Post.
Colorado State Patrol Trooper Josh Lewis told the paper that two cars were involved in the accident, resulting in minor injuries to one of the drivers.
The accident happened when Kale Broeder, 22, hit the bear after switching lanes to avoid a vehicle that had put on its emergency lights and pulled over to avoid hitting the bear.
"He saw (the first car) move over to the right with flashers on, and he moved over to the left lane and that's when he hit the bear," the driver's father, Gary Broeder, said. "It was in the middle of the road."