Police say a driver struck what appeared to be a black bear or large dog Wednesday night, a few hours after authorities scaled down their search for a bear that had been roaming around Johnson Road in Springdale.
The motorist called police at 9:45 p.m., saying their car had struck an animal near the intersection of Don Tyson Parkway and 48th Street. The animal scurried off, and responding officers were unable to locate it, according to Springdale police. Authorities are unsure if it is the bear that was being sought earlier in the day.
Police and wildlife officials scaled down their search for the bear shortly before 6 p.m., although they said they would look out for the animal throughout the night.
"They are really a very calm animal, don’t bother people too much, and they are not harmful to people," said Capt. Brian Mckenzie with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
Police responded at 3:38 p.m. to a call of a black bear loose on Johnson Road, near Tyson World Headquarters. An officer estimated the bear to be around 100 or 120 pounds, according to Springdale police. Officials said the bear appeared to be a small adult male.
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and a biologist responded to the area during the search, along with police.
"It's not unusual, especially this time of year," McKenzie said.
A viewer sent in a photo allegedly of the bear. Lisa Olsen told 5NEWS via email that the photograph was taken around 3:30 p.m. near Tyson. Springdale police later released a different photograph of the bear (below).
Game and Fish Commission officials said it is not rare to see bears during this time of the year because of breeding season. A Bear Nuisance Team was on standby during the search, they said.
"Chances are, seeing him again---no one might ever see him again," McKenzie said.