The black bear known to a devoted Internet following as Hope has been confirmed dead, shot by a bear hunter near Ely, MN as had been speculated.
The Duluth News Tribune has the story HERE.
Researchers Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield of the Wildlife Research Institute which is affiliated with the North American Bear Center in Ely said a hunter told them yesterday that he shot the bear on September 16. The yearling bear, named Hope by the researchers, earned fame thanks to a web-cam that recorded its birth.
“We know the hunter and he has been cooperative and helpful in the past,” a post on the Wildlife Research Institute web site said. “He would never shoot a collared bear—and he would not have deliberately shot Hope.”
Bear hunting and bear baiting is legal in Minnesota and taking a bear with a radio collar is legal, though discouraged, unless the bear is accompanied by a researcher who has identified the bear to the hunter as a research animal. Hope was not wearing a radio collar.
It appears Hope came to the hunters bait station without its radio-collared mother, Lily, or sibling cub, Faith, shortly after the trio initially discovered the bait. Without its collared mother and not appearing as an obvious member of the trio, the hunter likely did not know the bear was Hope.
Rogers and Mansfield noted that most bears taken by hunters are one to two years old. Their full report on the death of the bear can be read HERE.
The research bear, Lily, has a Facebook page, HERE, with more than 132,000 followers.