A cub born to a Grand Teton National Park grizzly bear was killed in a possible hit and run incident.
The cub, which was killed after being hit by a vehicle on Sunday night, could have been born to a grizzly dubbed 399. However, the same will be made clear when DNA test results arrive. The cub, nicknamed Snowy, was struck close to the Pilgrim Creek drainage.
As reported by FOX News, another female black bear was struck by a vehicle a few miles away. In a release, superintendent David Vela said, “It’s important to obey posted speed limits, maintain a safe following distance behind other vehicles, and be especially watchful around dawn and dusk when wildlife are more active.”
Since neither of the drivers reported the incidents, it has not been made clear who was behind the wheels of the vehicles.
As reported by the National Geographic News, grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone region are included in the federal Endangered Species Act. The inclusion came in 1975 with the bear population plummeting to an estimated 136 individuals.
Several people took to social media to express their outrage soon after reports of the incident began circulating on Monday.
Nature photographer Thomas Mangelsen, who wrote about and featured the 399 grizzly bear in the book Grizzles of Pilgrim Creek, said the incident was tragic.
“It is heart-wrenching to think that her last cub seems to have been killed in a hit-and-run accident,” Mangelsen said. “The survival of individual grizzlies is tenuous because they face so many threats. 399 was a smart, attentive mother who knew how to navigate the front country of Grand Teton and taught her cubs to also be savvy. 399 isn’t a menace nor is she tame but is rather highly tolerant of people. Bears like her and her offspring will matter more and more as human population builds.”
The report of the death of the cub comes with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service planning to take the grizzlies of the region off the list of federally protected threatened species.