Researchers fear that a black bear who gained Internet fame after her birth was shown on a "den cam" has been killed by a hunter in northeast Minnesota. "Hope," a 20-month-old cub, has not been seen since Sept. 14, and workers at the North American Bear Center believe she may have been shot by a hunter whose bait station was visited by her mother a few days later, AP reports. Hope was not wearing a radio collar or ear tag.
Hundreds of schools in the US and scores of other countries had been following the lives of Hope and her mother, Lily. Researchers suspect she had been deliberately targeted by the hunter, who posted on a Facebook page called "Lily: a bear with a bounty" and has declined to say whether he shot Hope. "It's disappointing to see people without a care about science, education and the region," said a senior Bear Center biologist. The center's goal is to "peacefully coexist with hunters," she says, so they will not be releasing his name. (Read more Minnesota stories.)