A bear was euthanized Thursday after it was struck by a vehicle on Interstate 495 in Middleborough, according to the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife.
The agency, commonly known as MassWildlife, confirmed in a statement that the bear had been euthanized.
“On Thursday, June 23, 2022, at approximately 11:10AM, the Massachusetts State Police (MSP) reported a black bear had been struck by a vehicle along Route 495 in the Town of Middleborough,” the statement said.
Officials said Massachusetts Environmental Police officers and staffers from MassWildlife were alerted and responded to the scene.
State Police, the statement said, “closed traffic lanes while the state’s Large Animal Response Team (LART), comprised of specially trained MEP officers and MassWildlife staff, was able to successfully tranquilize the animal.”
Initially, the plan had been to sedate the bear and move it to safety, according to authorities.
“Unfortunately, after a medical evaluation of the bear conducted by wildlife experts, it was determined that the bear had sustained significant injuries, could not be relocated, and was euthanized,” the statement said.
State Police had said via Twitter at 12:38 p.m. that I-495 would be shutdown in both directions during the response “for several minutes.” At 12:56 p.m., State Police tweeted that all lanes had reopened.
David Procopio, a State Police spokesman, said investigators don’t know who struck the bear, and that the highway had been shut down for about 20 minutes.
“We are sorry that a beautiful animal was injured and could not be saved,” Procopio said in a statement.