BRISTOL — The carcass of a black bear found this week in far northern Indiana had many fractured bones, injuries that are consistent with being struck by a motor vehicle, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources said Friday.
The fractures were discovered during a necropsy at the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at Purdue University, DNR mammalogist Brad Westrich said.
“It’s a shame that Indiana’s fifth black bear in modern history met this fate,” Westrich said.
DNR officials found the carcass Wednesday morning along State Road 15 in the Elkhart County town of Bristol, near the entrance to the Indiana Toll Road, Westrich said.
The DNR had not received reports of black bears in the area since 2015 before finding this bear, the DNR said.
Hair and tissue samples will be analyzed to determine where the black bear originated. It was not the same black bear that visited southern Indiana earlier this summer, Westrich said. That bear probably moved on to Kentucky, based on confirmed sightings received from Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
Indiana once was home to black bears. Bear populations in neighboring states are expanding, and Indiana’s forests and hills, primarily in the southern portion of the state, provide excellent habitat for black bears.