A grizzly that was struck by a car travelling at about 100 km/h in Alberta doesn’t seem to have suffered any lasting injuries, says the ecologist who later captured the bear to check him out.
Bear 164 was crossing the Trans-Canada Highway near Lac Des Arcs, east of Canmore, on July 28 when he was struck by a vehicle, according to John Paczkowski, an ecologist for the Kananaskis area with Alberta Environment and Parks.
“The vehicle, I believe, was undriveable after the accident,” said Paczkowski.
“We were fully expecting to go in and pick up a carcass.”
The bear moved about 75 metres off the highway and stayed in one place for a while, leading Paczkowski and the other officials to assume he had crawled off to die.
But by the next morning, the grizzly was on the move.
Three days later, a conservation officer shot video of him moving around easily with just a slight limp, Paczkowski said.
On the advice of a veterinarian, parks officers waited about three weeks and then captured the bear at the Spray Lakes day-use area on Aug. 16 to assess him and put a new collar on him.
“We went over him twice head to toe with trained personnel, looking for any sign of injury, and we could not externally see any source of injury on the bear,” he said.
‘We went over him twice head to toe … and we could not see any source of injury.’
– Parks ecologist John Paczkowski
“I can’t imagine being hit by a car at 100 km/h and three days later walking around, and then three weeks later he looks to be in pretty good shape.”
The examination even revealed the bear had increased in weight from 70 kilograms to 133 kilograms in the last 14½ months.
Bear 164 first captured when courting
Bear 164 is believed to be about seven years old.
He has been living in the Kananaskis area for many years, Paczkowski said.
His known home range includes Peter Lougheed and Spray Valley provincial parks and parts of the Stoney First Nation. He also moves through the Bow Valley around Canmore and occasionally enters the Banff townsite area.
It’s not known whether Bear 164 has ever succeeded in breeding.
“We first captured him as we were trying to recapture a…