Black bear that recovered from wildfire burns has been killed by hunter

Cinder, a black bear who gained national prominence after surviving a devastating 2014 wildfire in Washington state as a cub, has since been killed by a hunter, wildlife officials confirmed this week.

A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife official told CBS News on Monday that the bear had recently been found shot to death. 

Rich Beausoleil, a bear specialist with the department, told the network that Cinder’s tracking device had stopped transmitting signals in October 2017. He told the network he was hopeful at the time that  the young bear had been hibernating deep in a den somewhere for the winter. 

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Beausoleil said shortly after a team began looking for Cinder in September, they discovered the young bear’s skeletal remains instead fairly close to where she was released after her recovery years ago.

He said that the young bear’s tracking device had also been cut and disabled by the hunter who shot her.

Beausoleil told CBS News that Cinder had inspired Washington residents to “move on” from the devastating Carlton Complex Fire.

"She inspired them to rebuild and move on from the devastating Carlton Complex Fire," he said. "I'll always remember someone saying, 'If Cinder can do it, then we can do it.' That inspired me too."

Cinder first gained headlines in 2014 after she was found under a horse trailer nearly two weeks after the fire. At the time, the bear cub reportedly weighed only 37 pounds and suffered third-degree burns on all four of her paws.

The young bear later recovered from the fire, however, and reportedly weighed 127 pounds before being released back in the wild. 

Beausoleil said he thought her recovery was “incredible” at the time.