Bear Dead After Being Struck By Vehicle on I-95, But Is It the Princeton Bear?

The bar shimmies up a tree in the cemetery across from the Princeton Public Library. Photo Credit: Henry Vega.

The adolescent black bear that wandered around Princeton most of the day Wednesday and Thursday could be the same bear that was struck by a car and killed on Interstate 95 early this morning, but possibly not.

State officials are urging people not to jump to the conclusion that the bear killed on the highway is the same one spotted in Princeton in recent days, though it is a possibility.

State police confirmed to Planet Princeton that a black bear was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 95 in the northbound lane near Exit 4 just after 6:30 a.m. The bear matched the general description of the bear seen in Princeton in terms of size and weight. Gruesome photos of the bear taken after it was struck on the highway show it was probably struck at high speed, possibly by a tractor trailer.

The Division of Fish and Wildlife received a call about a bear killed on Route 95 this morning, but when a DFW official arrived at around 7:30 a.m., the bear was gone, DFW Spokesman Bob Considine said. Officials are not sure who took it.

“It’s illegal to remove it,” Considine said.

It could be the same bear, or another bear. Sometimes siblings wander in the same area.

Local police, the Princeton animal control officer and state officials spent much of Wednesday and Thursday trying to track the bear, which officials described as a three-foot, 150-175 pound “teenage bear.” He was last seen in Princeton in the Herrontown Woods area Thrusday.

Police were alerted to the bear’s presence just after noon Wednesday by a Plainsboro motorist who called in to report a bear sighting on the 400 block of Terhune Road near Governor’s Lane. The state Division of Fish and Wildlife was contacted, as were area schools.

The bear was seen on North Harrison Street near Terhune Road Wednesday afternoon and was later spotted wandering in the woods between Terhune Road and the shopping center. The bear then made its way to Conte’s and the Princeton Hospital garage. Just before 7 p.m. Wednesday night, residents spotted the bear in the cemetery near the Princeton Public Library. Representatives from the state Division of Fish and Wildlife decided Wednesday night not to attempt to tranquilize the bear while it was up in a tree in the cemetery.

The bear had become a celebrity in Princeton, with talk of the bear dominating local social media over the last two days. The bear was given various nicknames and even a Twitter account was created for the bear @princetonbear.