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Black bear killed on Wyoming highway

Black bear killed on Wyoming highway

A black bear was hit and killed by a driver on Highway 220 southwest of Casper, Wyo. on Monday night, officials said. 

It's uncommon to see bears near roads in the area, said Wyoming Game and Fish wildlife biologist Justin Binfet, although slightly more expected in the western part of the state. It's rare, Binfet said, for drivers to encounter them on highways in the area, let alone hit them.

"I've been in Casper for 15 years, and this is the first one I've dealt with here," said Binfet.

The bear appeared to be around three or four years old, according to Binfet. The Natrona County Sheriff's Office responded to the collision around milepost 104 on Highway 220 around 11:45 p.m. on Monday. 

Binfet said black bears have been quite active in the area recently, perhaps because late snowfall in the winter has made it a good year for berries. Chokecherries, currants and other berries that bears load up on before hibernation can be found along the North Platte River and other creeks. According to Binfet, this black bear was likely on its way up or down Casper Mountain. 

The bear's carcass was removed from the highway's northbound lanes by Game and Fish. As always, the agency reminds drivers to be on the lookout for wildlife crossing roads and highways.

Follow city and crime reporter Ellen Gerst on Twitter at @ellengerst

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