Baby black bear dies after being hit by car

Friday, May 7, 2010

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) -- A young black bear died in southwest Missouri after being struck by a hit-and-run driver as he tried to cross Interstate 44.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Mike Watson says the bear was hit Wednesday near Joplin and crawled to a median.

State conservation agent Adam Bracken says the animal was tranquilized and taken to a veterinarian, but had to be euthanized because of its severe injuries.

The Joplin Globe reports that authorities said the bear weighed 130 pounds and was about 5 feet long, and was probably 2 to 3 years old.

Bracken says black bears are still relatively rare in the state. The latest conservation estimates are that from 300 to 400 of the bears live in Missouri.

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