JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — A bear died after a semi truck hit it Monday afternoon on Interstate 55 near Herculaneum, Missouri. Officials believe it is the same bear that has been traveling to various cities in Jefferson County over the past few days.
Wildlife experts said the bear population is still growing faster than ever.
“It’s surprising that we’re seeing so many bear encounters in more urban areas, but it’s not,” says Dan Zarlenga of The Missouri Wildlife Conservation.
Zarlenga said the bear population is growing at about 8% each year and the bears are migrating closer to the St. Louis area. Just last year, conservationists had to remove a bear from a tree near Brentwood.
“There seems to be a corridor they prefer that takes them more into the St. Louis area and surrounding counties,” Zarlenga told FOX 2. “So we expect the bear sightings and the reports to become more frequent in the future.” will. “
The latest sighting to generate buzz on social media was a black bear, which appeared multiple times in videos and photos across Jefferson County over the weekend. Charlee Dacus and her family were going to dinner when they got a surprising closeup.
“We were on our way to Cracker Barrel to eat for my grandmother’s birthday when this bear just started crossing the street. So we stopped and started taking photos and videos of it,” Dacus said. “At first I was like, ‘Wait, this is crazy. I’ve never seen a bear.’”
Zarlenga said he suspects it was the same bear that roamed Jefferson County. Zarlenga addressed questions about why Missouri Conservation did not act sooner before the bear was killed.
“So the answer is because it’s just not practical to mobilize every time there’s an observation, plus the stress it would put on the bear to actually calm and relocate it,” he said. “Usually bears just move on. That’s why we don’t go to every bear that is reported. We only act when the bear is in immediate danger or in danger to others.”
Dacus and her family know that bears are easy to find in your backyard.
“Animals are definitely running around and stuff, so people should be careful when animals are around so they don’t get hurt like what happened today,” Dacus said.
Zarlenga said if you see a bear, leave it alone or act big and try to make a lot of noise to scare it away. Also, don’t leave any food overnight, because that naturally attracts the bear.
https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/bear-hit-killed-by-semi-truck-in-jefferson-county/ Bear hit, killed by semi truck in Jefferson County