Yosemite National Park officials on Friday implored drivers to slow down after two bears were fatally struck by vehicles in the last three weeks.
At least two others bears survived being hit by vehicles speeding above the 25 mph posted limit over that time period, but suffered serious injuries, according to a post on the park’s Facebook page. They limped away before the severity of their wounds could be checked, however.
The incident prompted officials to remind motorists to slow down, reminding drivers that the speed limits in the park are meant to protect not just people but the wildlife as well.
“Following posted speed limits may save the life of a great gray owl as it flies across the road, or a Pacific fisher as it runs across the road, both of which are endangered species,” the Facebook post stated. “This easy action—slowing down—may also prevent you from hitting a bear eating berries on the side of the road, or a deer crossing with its fawn.”
The park also pointed out the road signs reading “Speeding Kills Bears” are strategically placed around the park to mark areas where bears have been struck by vehicles either this year or in past years.
Those signs, which also feature an image of a red bear on them, are taken down each winter and then put back up again as collisions occur, according to the post.
Motorists who accidentally hit an animal and need an immediate response from a ranger are urged to call the park’s emergency communication center at 209-379-1992 or, if the animal is uninjured, to dial the Save-A-Bear Hotline at 209-372-0322. The hotline can also be used to report non-urgent bear observations.
More information can be found at http://keepbearswild.org/.