A black bear, injured when she was hit by a car Thursday morning, climbed 45 feet into a tree to reunite with her bawling cub.
The bear was hit during the morning commute as she and the cub crossed state Highway 27 a mile south of the Spokane Valley.
The extent of her injuries was not known but there was a large splatter of blood on the road. The cub was not hit.
The pair of bears was separated for nearly an hour after the accident.
Witnesses told Washington State Patrol troopers the mother bear was disoriented after being broadsided in the northbound lane and scampered into some brush east of the road.
The cub scrambled about three-quarters the way up a 60-foot Ponderosa pine and began crying.
Troopers, on the advice of state wildlife officials, cleared people away from the area, hoping the mother would return to claim her baby.
She did about an hour later, and both bears were spotted in the same tree about 9:30 a.m. They were still there at 3:30 p.m. By 5:30, they had wandered away.
The state patrol doesn’t know who hit the bear. An Idaho man who saw the accident reported it from a Valley pay telephone sometime after 8 a.m.
Wildlife officials kept an eye on the two most of the day to evaluate the mother’s injuries, said Madonna Luers, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Hopefully, Luers said, the bear wasn’t seriously hurt and can recover on her own.
“We’re not going to take any direct action to move them,” she said. “If she starts to fade or something, we’ll have to do something else with her and the cub.”
A Spokane veterinarian is licensed by the state to provide care for injured wildlife, Luers added.
Wildlife agents would consider trapping the two bears and taking them there if the mother’s condition deteriorated, she said.
A woman who lives in the area said it’s not unusual to see wildlife such as bears and deer in the rugged hills that border the south rim of the Valley, despite nearby subdivisions.
Deer are frequently hit and killed in the same area of Thursday’s accident, said the woman, who stopped to look and take pictures of the bears. She didn’t want to be identified.
Luers warned people not to approach injured wildlife, especially those with young. They can be quite dangerous, she said.
“The best thing people can do is stay away,” Luers said.
It was the second time in recent weeks that local people had a brush with bears.
On May 21, a black bear snacked on bird feed and snoozed in the back yard of a home in Suncrest, northwest of Spokane.
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