A 23-year-old Hialeah man was not injured in a vehicle crash on I-75 Friday morning, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
However, the bear he struck was not that lucky.
The man was traveling north on I-75 about one mile south of Bonita Beach Road when a black bear, weighing about 200 pounds, attempted to cross the travel lanes at about 8:40 a.m.
The front of the SUV, collided with the bear.
The black bear was pronounced dead on scene.
Biologists with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission responded to the crash.
“There is a robust bear population in Lee County and during this time of the year, sightings are not uncommon as juvenile bears are leaving the family unit and looking to establish an area of their own,” said Senior Officer Adam Brown, the public information officer for the FWC.
June is also the start of the breeding season for bears and they tend to travel more widely in search of a mate, Brown said.
The FWC urges the public not to approach a bear if they see one and to keep a safe distance. If you encounter a bear at close range, don’t run.
“Remain standing upright, speak to the bear in a calm, assertive voice, and back up slowly while leaving the bear with a clear escape route,” Brown said.