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New Hampshire’s Pardoned Bear Returns with 4 Surprises

May 02, 2018 04:06PM ● By Linda Ditch

Photo from Boston News

Typically, when someone is pardoned by New Hampshire’s governor, he or she doesn’t return to the scene of the crime. However, this spring one criminal has popped back up—the mother bear who was saved from being euthanized last spring. This time, she brought four new cubs with her.

If you remember, last year the mama bear and her three yearlings were “sentenced to death” by New Hampshire’s Fish and Game Department because they had no fear of humans, so much so that they entered a home near Dartmouth College searching for food. But the public raised a ruckus about their pending demise, so Governor Chris Sununu ordered the bears to be relocated instead of euthanized.

There was just one glitch—only the three yearlings were caught and moved. Mama bear escaped capture by moving out of the area to mate. She came back last August for a time, and now she’s back with four little cubs, once again foraging for a handout.

Now the plan is to capture the mother bear and her family and move them to a densely forested part of the state up north. However, there will be a delay as Fish and Game wait for the snow to melt and for tempting bear food such as berries and acorns to be available for munching. They don’t want Mama teaching her cubs to eat food meant for humans.

In the meantime, officials did tranquilize the mother—who weighed 180 pounds—to fit her with a tracking collar and ear tags. (Her cubs watched from the safety of a nearby tree.) Now they’ll know where to find her when moving day comes.

For now, the tracking device allows them to see where she is searching for food and to educate residents and business owners about what they need to do to keep the bears out of trash cans and bird feeders.


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