Bear in Washington that survived burns of wildfire was shot to death, killed by a hunter, officials say

Cinder the black bear shortly after the wildfire.
(Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care)

A black bear named Cinder almost lost her life after suffering serious burns after a forest fire that devastated parts of the state of Washington in 2014. Now, the animal of which the rehabilitation story made national headlines and inspired children e-book — reportedly found shot by a hunter who cut off the animal’s tracking collar and left her behind.

The bear radio-transmitting collar stopped sending signals in October 2017, leading wildlife officials in the first instance on Cinder had gone into hibernation for the winter, KOMO News reported.

Rich Beausoleil, a bear specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told Fox News on Tuesday that he and his business partner in December 2017, walked to the area in the vicinity of Cinder’s den, and placed cameras around “, in the hope to have pictures of her and the cubs.

“[But] as a result of the heavy snow loads in the spring and the cougar creek fire [and] smoke in the summer we were not able to go back and retrieve the cameras up to and including September 2018,” Beausoleil explains.


It was then that Beausoleil and his companion went to find the bear’s den, and think that the animal the collar had just stopped working.

Instead, they came in contact with the Shaft of the skeletal remains. A hunter had shot her and cut off her tracking collar, which is why it does not work, Beausoleil said.

While it is legal to kill a bear with a radio collar in Washington state, the state is “mandatory online reporting.”

“The hunter, only to tell us the sex and the GMU [game management unit] was killed in. All my contact info is on the collar, but the hunter chose not to call. I don’t know why,” he said.

Cinder is last seen alive and healthy by the researchers in February 2017 when they checked on her in the high in the Cascade mountains.

The black bear was rescued and rehabilitated after a wildfire in north-central Washington state, the Methow Valley scorched 400 square miles and destroyed 300 homes. The bear suffered from the third degree in all four of her legs as a result, and reportedly was so burnt she was “walking on her elbows,” The Associated Press reported.


Cinder was held for the first time to the California-based Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, who treated her burns. She was later sent to the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation to recover before it is released in June 2015, at the age of two.

Her story made national headlines and even led to the creation of an interactive e-book called “Cinder the Bear,” which was released on the Apple Book Store. The proceeds benefited the centers where she was treated.

“Cinder did a lot for the residents of the Methow that were affected by the wildfire — she inspired them to build and move of the devastating Carlton Complex fire. I will always remember you someone to say, ‘If Cinder can do it then we can do it,'” Beausoleil recalled. “That inspired me, too.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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