A woman has issued a warning to drivers, after she witnessed a bear being hit by a truck in a national park.
Brook Thate uploaded a clip to her TikTok account, @brookthatetravels, of the tragic scene, which she shared to raise awareness of the dangers to wildlife.
She told Newsweek the video was filmed last summer, but she decided to share it last week, where it has amassed more than a million views.
“I never posted it until now as it’s a sad story, the content is a bit graphic and it’s definitely hard to watch.
“However, I ultimately decided that it may be a good idea to post in hopes of raising awareness about wildlife along the road and serving as a reminder for people as they’re on the road,” she said.
Parks Canada estimates the black bear population to be around 380,000 in Canada, and 600,000 in North America.
The website stated there are 30-50 estimated to live in the Kootenay National Park, which forms part of the four contiguous Rocky Mountain national parks. The main threat to the animals is, unsurprisingly, humans.
“Black bears are wary of animal predators including grizzly bears, other black bears, and wolves. Their biggest threat? Human activity.
“Habitat fragmentation, habituation, and road and railway strikes take their toll on the black bear population in the mountain parks,” Parks Canada said.
The bear in the video is a common sight in the country, as the website continued: “For black bears, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of human-caused mortality in the mountain parks.”
Thate, from British Columbia, was on an eight-hour drive through the Kootenay National Park, where she saw five other bears, including a mother and her three cubs crossing the road.
Recalling the moment of impact, Thate said she rounded a corner “when I saw the accident happen,” involving a pick-up truck.
Thate, a photographer and filmmaker, said: “The truck driver did not intentionally hit the bear. The bear came out of the surrounding bush quickly and the driver had little time to react.
“The bear was hit pretty badly. The truck driver then pulled over to the side further up the road and a motorcycle followed.”
She estimated it to be a 400-pound black bear, around 5 feet long, saying it was “knocked out cold” for around two minutes. Owing to drivers stopping with their hazard lights on, she was confident the bear wouldn’t be hit by any other traffic, which proceeded to drive around the animal.
Thate recalled: “Quite frankly, I thought it had passed away when I first pulled up. Its breathing was barely evident. After remaining on the shoulder of the road and watching it in short proximity, that’s when I started to see the bear’s breathing become deeper.
“I was surprised and glad to see him alive, but then was instantly saddened to see his severe injuries.”
She confirmed she didn’t get out of the vehicle, and explained she always has her camera to hand due to her job.
Thate continued: “When it awoke, this is when I began filming again and it looked to me like the bear had quite a few injuries—perhaps a broken jaw and broken foot/leg, with many more I presume based on impact. It was disoriented and limped into the bushes slowly. That’s the last I saw of that bear.”
She confirmed there was blood on the road, saying: “The motorcyclist then came over to me and we talked about the condition of the bear and the cyclist was assessing the amount of blood loss left on the pavement.
“To my understanding, the incident had been reported. Unfortunately, I never did get an update on the condition of the bear. However, I hope with all my heart that it did recover from its injuries and gets to continue with its life in a healthy manner.“
A regular driver through that part of the world, she said it’s “not uncommon” to see animals that have been hit by vehicles, saying it’s “always so heartbreaking.”
She added: “We have wildlife bridges throughout BC and Alberta which are amazing at helping to prevent situations such as these from happening—animals can cross over busy roads safely without incident. I wish we had more.
“This sad incident of the bear, that captured the hearts of many, is a reminder for all drivers to always be on the lookout for wildlife when driving and to stick to the speed limit. The rules of the road are there for a reason, and that’s to keep humans and wildlife alike, safe.”
Parks Canada explained why, despite the introduction of wildlife bridges, some bears still end up on the roads.
The website said: “In Banff National Park, black bears have become adept at using both wildlife overpasses and underpasses to cross the busy Trans-Canada Highway.
“However, their ability to climb trees also enables black bears to scramble over fence posts along the highway, exposing them to dangerous highway traffic.”
Commenting on the TikTok video, captioned “always be on the lookout,” TikToker Christy Neufeld echoed Thate, saying: “We need to build more wild life bridges. We built roads in their homes.”
Charleymarie wrote: “If humans don’t start respecting animals it’ll be the end of the world.”
And Hike Manitoba added: “This hurts me so much. Thank you for sharing to remind folks to take it easy on the roads.”
The post Warning as Tragic Footage Shows Bear Injured After Being Hit by a Truck appeared first on Newsweek.