Published On: Mon, Dec 26th, 2016

Investigators finally understand why an entire family of bears died in a parking lot – AOL News

Investigators finally understand why an entire family of bears died in a parking lot

On Dec. 6 of this year, the West Wyoming Borough Police Department received a very strange case.

An entire family of bears appeared to have died in the parking lot of St. Monica’s church in West Wyoming, Pennsylvania. The bears showed no obvious signs of trauma or thrashing, and it would be weeks before investigators could finally determine the cause of their deaths.

The case was so mysterious that the West Wyoming Police Department as well as the Pennsylvania Game Commission asked the public for their thoughts on how the bears might have died.

Check out these wild bears

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Grizzly Bears

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This June 20, 2014 photo taken by an automatic trail camera provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows an adult female grizzly bear in the Cabinet Mountains, part of the Rocky Mountains, located in northwest Montana. Although their numbers are climbing out of the ânegative territoryâ for the first time in decades, wildlife officials say human-caused mortalities continue to plague the tenuous grizzly population, which is estimated to number around 50, with a projected growth of 1.4 percent annually. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

File-This Dec. 5, 2014 file photo shows a grizzly bear roams his pen, at Denver Zoo. In forty years, the U.S. government has spent billions of dollars trying to save some 1,500 species deemed endangered. House Republicans say that’s translated into just 2 percent of protected species being recovered, and they want to overhaul the Endangered Species Act. Environmentalists and many Democrats credit the act with saving species from extinction. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley,File)

A grizzly bear looks up from foraging on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

A grizzly bear, which was traveling with two cubs, ambles along the road on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

FILE – This July 6, 2011 file photo shows a grizzly bear roaming near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Federal wildlife officials say they want to maintain grizzly bear numbers in the three-state Yellowstone region near current levels as they move to lift protections for the threatened species possibly early next year. U.S. Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Serena Baker said Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, that the agency has set a management goal of 674 grizzly bears across the 19,000-square-mile region. Thatâs consistent with the average grizzly population between 2002 and 2014, but slightly below the most recent tally of 714 bears. (AP Photo/Jim Urquhart, File)

One of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s four 11-month-old grizzly bear cubs enjoys a pumpkin for a snack at the Zoo in Cleveland on Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2011. Besides providing the animals with enrichment, the pumpkins are a preview to the treats many of the animals will receive this coming Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day. The Zoo is open and free to the public on Thanksgiving Day as well. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

Two grizzly bear cubs watch visitors at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo during their public debut Thursday, July 14, 2011, in Cleveland. The two males, now four months old, were orphaned earlier in the year when a man shot their mother in self-defense near Helena, Mont. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

In this photo taken June 29, 2010, a grizzly bear used for medical research stands up after smelling fresh apples, at the Washington State University bear pen in Pullman, Wash. Grizzly bears love pastries, can be 50 percent body fat and spend nearly half the year sleeping. Yet the hibernating bears don’t suffer heart attacks, have no hardening of the arteries, no fatty deposits or any circulation issues, said Charles Robbins, director of the Washington State University bear research center. Robbins, who founded the center in 1986, and other WSU scientists are seeking to learn how bear hearts stay so healthy, and whether the answers can be applied to humans. (AP Photo/Dean Hare)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – DECEMBER 17: Grizzly bear cub named Juneau stands during her first day out in the public at the Palm Beach Zoo on December 17, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo will host two-orphaned female grizzly bear cubs until their new permanent home in a South Dakota zoo is completed. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

KEENESBURG, CO – JUNE 8: The grizzly bear named ‘Tiny’ plays in the pool area of the habitat. The Wild Animal Sanctuary has over 350 rescued tigers, lions, bears, and other wild animals at it’s location in Keenesburg and is looking to expand by 600 acres. (Photo by Kathryn Scott Osler/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – 2013/08/27: Brown bear (Ursus arctos) or grizzly looking for salmon at Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

A grizzly bear and her two cubs walk along the road on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2013, in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

WEST PALM BEACH, FL – DECEMBER 17: Grizzly bear cubs, Juneau & Sitka, stand in the water during their first day out in the public at the Palm Beach Zoo on December 17, 2015 in West Palm Beach, Florida. The Zoo will host the two-orphaned female grizzly bear cubs until their new permanent home in a South Dakota zoo is completed. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – 2013/08/27: Brown bear (Ursus arctos) or grizzly looking for salmon at lower Brooks River in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)

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“The highly unusual circumstances prompted the Game Commission to consider the deaths suspicious and requested that persons with any information regarding the incident to contact the agency,” the Game Commission “>wrote on Facebook.

After conducting post-mortem examinations and completing a toxicology report, investigators were able to determine that the bears had eaten the English Yew plant, a poisonous ornamental shrub. Yew plants contain taxine, toxic to most animals if consumed.

Parts of the yew plant were discovered in each of the bear’s stomachs.

“While yew are toxic year-round, toxin levels increase during the winter months. Yew is cardiotoxic and impacts the heart’s ability to beat properly,” The Game Commission wrote on Facebook.

Weird sad case, closed.

[H/T Buzzfeed]

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Investigators finally understand why an entire family of bears died in a parking lot – AOL News.

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