600-pound black bear killed when car slams into it on NC highway

Photo Courtesy: North Carolina Black Bear Festival

WASHINGTON COUNTY, N.C. — Wildlife enthusiasts are asking drivers to "Be Bear Aware" after a 600-pound black bear was killed when it was hit by a car on Highway 64 in Washington County.

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The North Carolina Bear Festival, which aims to celebrate the state’s black bears, shared the tragic accident on Facebook.

According to the post, a car was on Highway 64 east of Plymouth around 5:15 a.m. Monday when it slammed into the bear -- killing it.

"One of the challenges when driving on any highway is seeing a black bear on a black asphalt road on a black night. They are very difficult to see, to say the least," the festival said.

Although the driver was not hurt, the front of the car was completely crushed in the collision.

Tragedy strikes again! A huge 600 lb. male bear dies from a car collision east of Plymouth, NC. Here on the...

Posted by North Carolina Black Bear Festival on Monday, April 8, 2019

The festival warns bears are becoming more active around this time of year, with peak activity from mid-May to mid-July.

“We have an expanding human population and an expanding black bear population that are literally colliding on our highways in Eastern NC,” the festival wrote. “In 1972 there (were) only 2 bears killed on NC highways. In 2011, there were 272 bears killed on NC highways.”

The North Carolina Department of Transportation, with help from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, installed the first and only black bear overpasses in the state on a portion of Highway 64 to reduce animal fatalities.

“The bottom line here is ‘Be Bear Aware’ when you are driving here in Bear-olina,” the festival said.

According to the festival, North Carolina has largest black bears and highest black bear densities in the world.