WAYNESBORO -- A car crash involving a bear...
State police say the crash happened just after 6 a.m. on Interstate 64, when a driver of an SUV hit a bear right outside of Waynesboro. No one was hurt, and the bear left the scene.
A wildlife expert said if it seems like we're seeing more bears, that's because we probably are.
"Most of the time people don't even have any idea what they've hit," said Doug Bridge, a senior trooper with Virginia State Police. "They think it's a large deer. Because most of them are at nighttime and they never see it coming."
Experts say, increasingly, this is something you need to be aware of on the roads.
Ed Clark is the president and co-founder of the Wildlife Center of Virginia. He says this time of year is breeding season for the bears, which means they are out and about .
On Tuesday, a bear was found wandering around a neighborhood in Roanoke.
"People are really learning to have to live with them now," Clark said. "Really, now they're spilling out of the national forest, the forests around this part of Virginia are maturing...And there's a lot more food for them, a lot more habitat for them, and food and habitat are a real good combination for a population increase," he said.
Clark said the wildlife center is treating a record number of bears already this year.
"Be mindful that we're doing a lot to bring the wildlife populations back in Virginia," he said. "Part of the public's responsibility is to simply be aware of that."
State police warn drivers to be careful.
"You just need to be aware that there is wildlife out here," Bridge said. "You are driving through the mountains. So the wildlife is going to be there."
Trooper Bridge said they see two or three of this kind of accident every month, especially around Afton Mountain. And it's not just bears - it's deer, too. So keep your eyes on the road.
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