A large male black bear was struck and killed around 9:30 p.m. Sunday by a car near Zephyr Cove on Lake Tahoe’s south shore.
The driver of a 2002 white Ford Explorer, Jose Cruz Calvillo-Vasquez of Sun Valley, with passengers Viridiana Galaviz, Alejandro Lopez, Victoria Lopez and Joselin Citlalli Lopez, were traveling eastbound on U.S. 50 when they struck the bear in the fast lane, knocking it into the slow westbound lane. No injuries were claimed.
“It was in excellent shape for a bear nearly 20 years of age. It is a shame to see him get hit and killed by a car,” said wildlife biologist Carl Lackey.
The bear had first been trapped and radio collared by the Nevada Department of Wildlife as part of a research project in 2001. At that time the bear was estimated to be approximately 6 years old.
“We had not seen or heard of this bear since that time,” Lackey said. The bear was the second killed on Lake Tahoe highways this year, joining a bear hit and killed by a car near Spooner Summit on July 1.
Last year, 12 bears were hit and killed by cars in Nevada.
“Bears are expanding their search for food this year because of the drought so people need to be on the lookout for bears and other animals on the road ways,” said Lackey.
In 2006, 22 Nevada black bears were hit and killed by cars. The following year 35 bears were killed along Nevada roads and highways.
“It is very hot and dry this year and natural foods are in short supply for the bears,” said Lackey. “Persons driving during evening and early morning hours need to be careful.”
Since accurate record keeping in 1997, over 170 black bears have been killed in Nevada after being hit by cars. More bears have been killed by cars than any other source of bear mortality in that time frame. This bear was the 172nd bear to have been killed.