Cinder the Bear, who survived severe wildfire burns, found shot dead

Cinder the Bear (KOMO News file photo)

LEAVENWORTH, Wash. - A young female black bear who won the hearts of people across the Northwest after she beat the odds and survived severe burns suffered in a 2014 wildfire has been found shot to death.

The bear, nicknamed Cinder, underwent nearly a year of treatment and rehabilitation at Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care after she was rescued by a Methow Valley rancher who found her with third-degree burns to her paws from the Carlton Complex fire.

Cinder was eventually transferred to Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation, where she relearned how to be a wild bear before being released with a GPS radio collar in the mountains about 30 miles north of Leavenworth in summer 2015.

"She's in a great spot. The odds are on her side," Rich Beausoleil of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said at the time. "It's a great spot, we've done our job. So now it's up to Cinder."

Meanwhile, an interactive children's e-book Cinder the Bear was released on the Apple Book Store, with proceeds will benefit Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care and Idaho Black Bear Rehabiliation.

Beausoleil said he and a team of researchers checked on Cinder in February of 2017 while she was in her den at the 5,000-foot elevation of the Cascades. The bear was of normal weight and healthy, and researchers replaced her radio collar with a new one.

Cinder's radio collar stopped transmitting in October 2017, but officials hoped it was because she was holed up in a den for the winter, Beausoleil said.

Then, in September, a team set out to find Cinder's den and instead found her skeletal remains not far from where she was set free. Beausoleil says it appears the collar stopped working because a hunter shot her then and cut the collar, rendering it inoperable.

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