GREAT FALLS – Three grizzly bears died after being hit by a vehicle on Highway 93 south of Ronan.
It happened on Friday night, and the collision killed a marked female bear with a radio collar and her two cubs, one male and one female. according to a Facebook post from the Consolidated Salish-Kootenai Tribe (CSKT).
The post did not state whether anyone in the vehicle was seriously injured.
The CSKT says that are continuing to work on implementing more safe crossing locations for wildlife, such as overpasses and underpasses.
The Facebook post states:
We realize this image invokes strong emotions in people, it does for us too. The particular female has been collecting data for us on her movements around the Flathead Indian Reservation. We are saddened to see her and her two cubs were killed on US 93. Grizzly bears (as well as black bears, deer, elk, mountain lions and bobcats) are frequently and specifically at night moving across the Mission Valley.
CSKT, the Montana Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration have been working together for years in an effort to make the highway safer for the traveling public and to provide adequate and safe crossing locations for all wildlife species. Highway reconstruction is a big project, crossing structures do cost money, and there are various other factors that come into play. We hope to see movement on reconstruction projects with adequate and appropriate sized crossing structures start again soon. There are effective crossing structures already built under and over US 93 on the Flathead Reservation, but this particular area has not been reconstructed and does not include crossing structures at this time.
We encourage drivers, locals and visitors, to be cautious when driving through the Flathead Indian Reservation. All our wildlife resources are important to us as are the lives of the people traveling through. These accidents are not only about being aware and slowing down. Wildlife are unpredictable and short, dark colored bears crossing US 93 at night can be next to impossible to see until it is too late traveling at highway speed.