The Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said the bear was found along State Road 15 in the Elkhart County town of Bristol, near the entrance to the Indiana Toll Road. Preliminary results revealed the bear had injuries consistent with a vehicle collision.
Wildlife officials said the department has not received reports of black bears in the area prior to Wednesday's discovery.
"It is unfortunate that for many in Elkhart County this was their first experience observing a black bear," said Brad Westrich, DNR mammalogist. "It’s well documented that wild animals are commonly killed on roadways, and it’s a shame that Indiana’s fifth black bear in modern history met this fate."
FILE- Black bear. (Photo by Friso Gentsch/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The DNR said hair and tissue samples would be analyzed to determine where the bear came from.
Indiana was once home to black bears. Bear populations in neighboring states are growing, and Indiana’s forests and hills, primarily located in the southern portion of the state, are excellent habitat for black bears.
A black bear was previously spotted in southern Indiana earlier this summer but Westrich says it likely moved on to Kentucky based on confirmed sightings from the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources.
If you see a bear, report it to the DNR at on.IN.gov/largemammal. Biologists use the reports to monitor bear activity and provide recommendations to local residents.