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Interstate closed to let bear retrieve dead cub

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October 29, 2008

Interstate closed to let bear retrieve dead cub

By Jonathan Austin

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Woodfin police had to close westbound Interstate 26 Tuesday afternoon to let a mother bear retrieve her dead cub from the roadside.

The interstate was closed for about 25 minutes, Woodfin Police Sgt. Dawn Roberts said.

Roberts said the cub, which weighed about 80 pounds, was struck by a vehicle and died in the road just east of the New Stock Road exit. "It was killed straight out," she said.

But the mother bear wasn't willing to walk away. "She was coming to take care of us and her cub," she said.

"She was trying to figure out what was going on. She didn't realize the cub was dead," Roberts said. "She came out in the road a couple of times."

Woodfin officers have dealt with many bear sightings recently, she said, and they knew of the risk getting between the mother and cub.

"Even though it was dead, the mother still wanted to take care of it," Roberts said. "She was wanting to get her baby."

So as officers armed with rifles stood watch, others pulled the cub to the roadside where the mother bear could get to it. The mother immediately "grabbed it by the scruff of the neck and pulled it off the roadway," Roberts said. "She pulled it off into the woods. She was tending to it."

Roberts said the mother bear weighed about 200 pounds.

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