'Falling Bear' Internet Star Dies After Being Hit By Car
He Was 'Relocated' Just Days Before
15 minutes of fame ended swiftly and tragically for 'Falling Bear.' The black bear, whose fall from a tree last month was captured in a spectacular photograph, has died after being hit by a car.
The 280-pound bear was struck by two cars on interstate 36 in Colorado on Thursday, resulting in its death and minor injuries to the two drivers.
The bear captured the internet's attention late last month when it was photographed falling from a tree after being tranquilized. The bear had wandered up a tree near dorms on the University of Colorado campus.
The image, which shows the bear plummeting with unexpected grace onto a set of mats, became an instant hit.
But the bear himself ultimately did not see the same popularity that his photograph did. After being relocated to a wilderness area about 50 miles west of Boulder, he wandered onto a highway.
Kale Broeder, 22, was driving to work from his girlfriend's house when he saw a car abruptly pull over in front of him.
"He saw (the first car) move over to the right with flashers on, and he moved over to the left lane and that's when he hit the bear," his father Gary Broeder said. "It was in the middle of the road."
Broeder says his son is fine but the car is totalled.
Relocating bears safely is a growing problem says Jennifer Churchill, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and sadly these stories are becoming more and more common.
"It's a bummer. It's so hard to go through this and not be able to give these bears a good place to live," Churchill said. "The community sees relocating bears as a kind of perfect solution, and unfortunately it's a really difficult proposition."