Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials set out to find the den of the animal nicknamed Cinder the Bear back in September because her radio-transmitting collar stopped working, according to KOMO-TV.
The team had hoped the collar had stopped transmitting because she was holed up for the winter.
Instead, the team found her remains close to where she was set free back in 2015. A hunter had shot her and cut the collar, said department spokesman Rich Beausoleil.
Cinder was last seen alive and healthy by researchers in February 2017 when they checked on her in a den high in the Cascade mountains.
She was originally found under a horse trailer after a wildfire in north-central Washington state’s Methow Valley in July 2014. The blaze destroyed 300 homes and was the largest fire in recorded state history.
Cinder was left with third-degree burns on all four paws – so scorched that she was walking on her elbows. Weighing just 37 pounds at the time, she was discovered in the yard of a house two weeks after the fire swept past.
Her rescue captured global attention as she healed in centres in California and Idaho, doubling her weight within months.
An interactive children’s e-book called “Cinder the Bear” was released on the Apple Book Store, with proceeds benefiting Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation, where she was treated.
Cinder was then released in June 2015 alongside an orphaned cub named Kaulana, a younger male cub also injured by wildfires who wouldn’t leave Cinder‘s side.
Kaulana was also found killed by a hunter in 2015, which was within bear hunting season and a legal kill.
Additional reporting by Associated Press
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