56 F

Davis, California

Friday, April 19, 2024

Bear walks onto campus and into traffic

An approximately 200-pound bear was seen near the Arboretum before wandering onto state Route 113 where it died after a collision with a vehicle

Early yesterday morning, students received a text alert from UC Davis police through the campus’ WarnMe service alerting them to the presence of a bear on campus. Two hours later they were informed again—that the bear was dead.

“UC Davis WarnMe: Brown Bear sighting, about 200 lbs, UC Davis Campus please avoid the area of the arboretum, La Rue Rd and South East area of campus until authorities can get it contained,” the text read.

UC Davis police advised that people stay away from the area and the animal. Lieutenant Doug Voska of the UC Davis Police Department’s campus patrol division said he was informed about the bear’s appearance on campus at 3:50 a.m.

“Somebody called in and said they saw a bear, and that was in the area of the 113 and Hutchison Drive,” Voska said.

Voska said UC Davis officers first spotted the bear in the Arboretum near King Hall.

Andy Fell, a spokesperson at UC Davis, said that he learned about the bear through the WarnMe text and went to campus to see if he could help out. 

“This isn’t a great environment for a bear,” Fell said. “We really want to be able to move that animal somewhere where it’s safer.” 

The early morning message was sent for the purpose of preservation of human life, Voska said.

“A bear, an animal that lives in the wild and that finds itself in the middle of a college environment, could feel trapped at some point,” Voska said. “The Arboretum is an area where a lot of people like to jog in the morning.”

Though the bear was described as a “brown bear,” it is more likely referring to the color rather than the species. Fell said that the species of bear is a black bear found within California.

“If you’ve ever seen a black bear, they look brown,” Fell said. “A brown bear is more like a grizzly bear which we don’t have in California.” 

This is the second time a black bear has entered the campus, according to both Fell and Voska.

Voska said in 2019 officers got a call that a bear was in a tree. After Yolo Animal Control was unable to address the issue themselves, Fish and Game was called and arrived a couple of hours later and was able to safely tranquilize the bear. 

“A couple of years ago, we had a bear on campus that Fish and Game were able to track […] and relocate [to] the Sierras, which is a good outcome,” Fell said.

In contrast, the bear spotted this morning moved over to the Equestrian Center toward state Route 113 after moving west along the Arboretum, Voska said.

California Highway Patrol Officer Ernesto Coronel said the CHP Woodland Area Command received a call from a man who said he had hit the bear with his work’s box truck, used to transport wine from a local winery. 

“He reported that he believed the bear had possibly died as a result of being struck by his vehicle,” Coronel said.

Coronel said he had a visual of the bear, deceased, at 6:38 a.m. but based on when they received the call, he estimates the bear was struck around 6:15 a.m. 

Animal Control responded to the scene and removed the body of the bear; the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was also in the process of responding when the bear was removed.

The person who struck the bear did not appear to be seriously injured and was checked in on by Coronel later on in the day.

The WarnMe text updated at 8:25 a.m. to inform students that the incident had ended.

“Bear reported on campus early this morning died in a vehicle collision,” the text read. “All areas clear and open as normal.”

Several students took to the UC Davis sub-Reddit to express their remorse for the bear. 

“It’s pretty sad, I think nobody wants that to happen,” Fell said. “It’s just a shame that we put freeways in the way of these animals and it’s not their fault.”

Written by: Kathleen Quinn — campus@theaggie.org


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