MDC confirms bear struck and killed on I-55 near Festus Tuesday night

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Saint Louis
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FESTUS, Mo.—The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) confirms that a bear was struck and killed Tuesday night on I-55 near Festus.  MDC suspects that it is the same individual reported and captured in photos and video by residents in the area over the past week.

The last confirmed sighting of the bear alive was made by Missouri state law enforcement officers at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday evening.  The MDC Jefferson County conservation agent received the initial report of the bear seen on the highway after the collision at 8:50 p.m.  The bear was struck on northbound I-55 north of the Highway 67 intersection.  There are no eyewitness accounts of the collision at this time. 

According to MDC staff, the bear appeared to be approximately the same size as the bear previously reported in the area.  It also displayed the reddish-tinted fur characteristic of the cinnamon phase of an American black bear (Ursus americanus) as seen in the photos and video.  This is a normal but not common coloration phase of the species.  MDC suspects the bear to be a two-three year old male, but due to the condition of the remains, the gender cannot be confirmed.

The bear is being brought to MDC’s Wildlife Health Veterinary Lab in Columbia for a full necropsy and genetic sampling.

Missouri is home to an estimated 900 black bears with a growing population and expanding range. As spring gets underway, bears leave their winter dens in search of food and are active and on the move.  Information about preventing conflicts with bears can be found at