Hope the black bear, who became famous when her birth was shown on a web-cast, is feared killed by a hunter. The animal’s birth was broadcast live to the world over the Internet two years ago. Lynn Rogers, senior biologist with the North American Bear Center and its affiliated Wildlife Research Institute, said Monday that she was last seen Sept. 14.
The center had installed a camera into a bear’s den named Lily in Northeastern Minnesota giving an audience of thousands a chance to witness the birth of Hope. Now Rogers is hoping he doesn’t get the news he expects. Though she had no radio device, her mother Lilly, who she frequently roamed with, had one on a collar and on September 15, 16, and 17, she had visited a hunter’s bait station.
“Then she left and never returned to it. And Hope was never seen again,” he said.
Rogers is waiting to hear from the Department of Natural Resources to see if anyone has registered killing a black bear fitting Hope’s description. There was a Facebook page set up for Lily that has 132,000 fans in 132 countries and at 500 schools worldwide. The page was set up so people could follow the lives of the black bear family that also included Faith the youngest of Lily’s cubs.
“There was so much we wanted to learn from this family,” he stated.
Rogers does know the person who owns the bait station, but they did not answer the question of whether or not he shot the black bear that Internet users call “Hope” when asked via e-mail. “I’m figuring I’ll never release his name,”he said, adding that the center’s goal is to “peacefully coexist with hunters. … We just want to know what happened and go on from there.”
That same hunter, though may have had a target of getting Lily as he created a Facebook page himself called, “Lily: A bear with a bounty,” which the page had 50 followers. Last week there were postings that stated, “Hope jerky” or Hope cooked in a black crock pot. “It’s disappointing to see people without a care about science, education and the region,” Rogers said.