Local News

Bear killed by vehicle along I-40

Posted June 26, 2008

— Authorities said that a black bear spotted alongside of Interstate 40 on Thursday morning was most likely killed when a vehicle hit it.

Tammy Kenion was driving to work in Chapel Hill around 5:50 a.m. when she saw what appeared to be a black bear lying on the side of the road. Kenion called 911 to report the sighting near Exit 266, N.C. Highway 86 on the north edge of town.

"A deer or a bear?" the 911 dispatcher asked.

"It looks like a bear. It's black," Kenion said.

Officials with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission determined that the bear's injuries were consistent with being hit by a vehicle. The bear had road burn and a dislocated back leg.

Wildlife officers said seeing such a large-sized bear, which was moved to the Department of Transportation office in Hillsborough, is unusual in the area.

"It's pretty common down on the coast this size, but to be here in the central part of North Carolina, it's a pretty nice-size bear," wildlife officer John Brown said.

The black bear stood nearly 6 feet when erect and weighed over 200 pounds. Wildlife officers planned to test its teeth to determine its age.

"It's one of the rarer finds and, certainly, something that's very, very special to have around," said Scott Robertson, with the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

The Museum of Natural Sciences took possession of and stored the bear's body. The museum will use it for educational purposes, whether in an exhibit or for research, officials said.

Wildlife officials were not sure why the bear had been in the area of Chapel Hill. They speculated he could have been forced west by the wildfire in eastern North Carolina or been going to Jordan Lake for food.

"These bears are just moving through the area," Brown said. "It's nothing to get alarmed about."

 

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  • ratherbnnc Jun 27, 7:21 a.m.

    ratherbnnc , if you work at the museum, what happened to the male lion,polar bear,bison, and other animals that used to be around about 10 yrs ago..those things were huge.
    monkey_boy09

    If you are referring to something that was on exhibit at the museum more than likely they are in the museum collections area.

  • ladyblue Jun 26, 7:50 p.m.

    I am glad they will be able to use the bear to educate the people. I'm sue we will be seeing more strange animal locations as we continue to progress. It must of been a large vehicle like a transfer or bus for them not to have felt the hit and called it in. If it had been a car don't you think it would have damaged it pretty badly, becasue that like a super large doggie.........200 lbs......

  • smeade1 Jun 26, 7:16 p.m.

    hey oldschool - i too thought it might have been migrating from the east due to the fires. Do you think he was actually a resident of the area? I hate it got hit - probably like you said - by some DWI driver who by now, is relieved he didn't hit a person but fled the scene nevertheless. And I haven't seen "Idiocracy"; I hope I don't fit into that category...I'm not trying to be sarcastic-I'm quite serious.

  • oldschooltarheel Jun 26, 6:38 p.m.

    "Wildlife officials were not sure why the bear had been in the area of Chapel Hill. They speculated he could've been forced west by the wildfire in eastern North Carolina or been going to Jordan Lake for food."
    This is evidence that the movie "Idiocracy" is indeed prophetic. This statement, if relly issued from the lips of a real NC Fish & Wildlife employee, demonstrates that functional illiterates are indeed running the joint (thanks Mikey, your work here is done, just leave 'em your credit card). I would like to know who the "offical" was who issued this stupid spew - the bear didn't roll in from eastern NC (not even with 540/64 speeding things up) & was unlikely trucking down to Jordan Lake...
    BTW - dollars to doughnuts a drunk you-know-what took it out in the wee hours. Nice move - think they knew what they hit wasn't a person? Think they cared?

  • Wake1 Jun 26, 6:14 p.m.

    Sad story - too bad it wasn't able to be captured & relocated.

  • Ladybug008 Jun 26, 5:48 p.m.

    The comments I have just read concerning the loss of the black bear for the most part) has revived my faith in mankind, once again. I thought I was the only one concerned about wildlife in the Triangle area. It saddens me that we just keeping building & building w/no regards to the consequences of wildlife & their quality of life. My home backs up to a 'nature' park (ha! ha!) & I have seen wonders in my own back yard. Several years ago I was priviledged to see an albino deer - I am still in awe! I've seen deer, raccoons, red & grey foxes, beaver, blue heron, ibis, turtles, snakes, possums, squirrels just to name drop. Unfortunately, the park is now growing w/new buildings & more people so again, the animals are being pushed out of 'their' park - and they were there first!!!! We've got a lot to learn when it comes to being good stewarts to the animal kingdom.

  • monkey_boy09 Jun 26, 5:30 p.m.

    ratherbnnc , if you work at the museum, what happened to the male lion,polar bear,bison, and other animals that used to be around about 10 yrs ago..those things were huge.

  • xchief661 Jun 26, 5:29 p.m.

    So sad to see such a beautiful animal lose its life. I think it is wonderful that the Museum is taking this animal to use for education. I would not like to see him just lie beside the road. That would be very sad.

  • CrewMax Jun 26, 5:14 p.m.

    S.B.I. is investigating...stay tuned...

  • jse830fcnawa030klgmvnnaw+ Jun 26, 4:52 p.m.

    TriangleMommy, the bear is already dead. At least the museum will have the bear in a more respectful state, and may be promote more responsible behavior in dealing with wildlife among the audience. It is not like the local hunting lodge retrieved the bear and it plans to cut the head off to mount it on the wall, which would be really disrespectful.

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