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Famous 'Falling Bear' Dies In Colorado Crash
A black bear that became famous after it was photographed falling from a tree after wandering onto a university campus has been killed on a motorway.
The 280-pound bear, which was tagged and relocated to the mountains about 50 miles (80km) from the US city of Boulder last week, died on Thursday morning, Colorado Parks and wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill said.
It had returned to the city, having crossed greenbelts and irrigation ditches, in search of food, Ms Churchill added.
Two cars on Highway 36, which connects Denver to Boulder, hit the bear.
Colorado State Patrol spokesman trooper Josh Lewis said both vehicles "were totalled" and one of the drivers was treated for minor injuries.
Last week, the three-year-old bear was spotted in a tree outside a student housing complex at the University of Colorado.
Crowds gathered to observe the animal, as wildlife officers prepared to shoot it with a tranquiliser dart.
As it fell from the tree, a photographer with the student newspaper captured a shot of it with arms and legs splayed.
The photo went viral on the internet and "the falling bear" even had its own Facebook page and Twitter account.
Despite being relocated to the mountains after it was captured unharmed, the bear returned to the city and was killed about two miles (3km) from the campus.
Colorado is home to about 12,000 black bears.
Ms Churchill said a dry winter had stressed the bears' normal food supply of chokecherry and serviceberry bushes, forcing them to look for food in urban areas.
She added that young male bears search for new territory when they wake from winter hibernation.
"If a bear finds a food source it will return even if it's in town," she said. "This could be a tough year for bears."