A vehicle killed a young black bear Thursday on Florida Road (County Road 240).
But the death doesn’t count toward the number of wildlife/vehicle collisions the Colorado Department of Transportation says keeps La Plata County high on the list of such run-ins.
CDOT keeps track of wildlife/vehicle collisions on state highways but not on county roads, such as Florida Road.
The yearling bear was killed Thursday at mile marker 7.
A yearling is a cub born last year that returned to the den to emerge again with mom and her new babies.
In 2013, La Plata County topped the CDOT list of eight Colorado counties that had more than 100 reported collisions between wildlife and vehicles. The list of collisions can include fatalities for wildlife.
The list of collisions: La Plata, 252; Jefferson, 248; El Paso, 201; Douglas, 199; Garfield, 128; Moffat, 116; Larimer, 106; Montezuma, 106.
The six-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 160 from roughly the Florida River to Gem Village is notorious for vehicle/wildlife collisions, said Nancy Shanks, the CDOT communications manager in Durango.
In the last five years – July 2009 to July 2014 – 58 percent of accidents in that area were wildlife-related, Shanks said.
In a one-mile stretch, from mile marker 95 to mile marker 96, 80 percent of accidents involved wildlife.
Bryan Peterson, the founder of Bear Smart Durango, said nonhunter bear deaths in 2013 totaled 38 – 26 by vehicles or electrocution and 12 as nuisances by landowners.
Peterson’s statistics apply to Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Area 15 (from the Continental Divide to the Utah state line and from the New Mexico state line to about Silverton).
Annual bear deaths by vehicles or electrocution from 2006 to 2012 were 4, 29, 6, 5, 10,16, 48.