Cinder The Bear, Whose Paws Were Badly Burned In The 2014 Washington Wildfire, Is Killed By A Hunter

Black bear in the wild.
Menno Schaefer / Shutterstock

Cinder — a famous bear cub whose paws were severely scorched in a massive 2014 Washington wildfire — has been shot and killed by a hunter.

According to a report by the Daily Mail, Rich Beausoleil, an official from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, has confirmed that a team was sent out to look for the den of the black bear in September. Her radio transmitting collar stopped working 11 months ago.

Beausoleil said that officials were hoping that the bear’s collar stopped sending signals in October 2017 because Cinder might have hibernated for winter. However, when the team went to search for the bear, they found the rescued bear’s skeletal remains close to the place where she was set free in 2015 — in the mountains outside Leavenworth, Washington. According to officials, the bear cub was only five years old when she was shot dead.

Cinder, then a 34-pound cub, was found cowering under a horse trailer in July of 2014 by a landowner. Her paws were badly burned in the Carleton Complex fire, so much so that she used to pull herself along by her elbows, the report detailed.

She was taken to a California wildfire center, and then to the Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation center — where she was nursed back to health. In June 2015, she was released back into the wild.

Cinder’s recovery and progress made headlines. Her story even inspired a children’s e-book, per a story by USA Today. The book was called Cinder the Bear: A True Story of Rescue, Recovery, Rehabilitation and Return.

Another orphaned bear named Kaulana, who became friends with Cinder in the rehabilitation center, was also released into the wild along with Cinder. Kaulana was killed by a hunter five months later, the USA Today report states. The report said that it “was within bear hunting season and a legal kill.”

Cinder, on the other hand, was tracked by Beausoleil through her collar — and continued to show progress over the next several months. Per the report, at the time, Cinder was “nesting like other females her age.”

The Daily Mail report added that Cinder was tracked in early 2017 by state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials. She was found in her den — a hollowed-out tree at 5,000 feet elevation — and officials replaced her GPS radio collar.

When she was last seen alive, Cinder appeared to be healthy. Her collar stopped transmitting signals in October 2017, so a WDFW team was dispatched into the mountains in December 2017 “to place cameras in the forest in the hopes of photographing Cinder in the wild.”

However, due to heavy snowfall in the forest in spring, followed by a wildfire in the summer, officials were unable to retrieve the cameras. In September of this year, however, the team finally recovered the cameras — and learned about Cinder’s tragic killing.

Beausoleil added that the unidentified hunter who shot and killed Cinder apparently “cut off her collar, which is why it stopped sending signals in October 2017, and took all the meat and the bear’s hide.”