ELY, Minn. (WCCO) -- A hunter has come forward and admitted to shooting Hope the bear, according to the Wildlife Research Institute.
A posting from the Wildlife Research Institute says that, although there has been no confirmation yet from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the hunter contacted the them directly. That posting has been confirmed by the institute.
The hunter reportedly said he shot Hope on Friday, Sept. 16 after she wandered into his bait site, according to biologists Lynn Rogers.
Rogers says he knows the hunter, who, he says, has helped out the North American Bear Center in the past. He said he just wishes the hunter wouldn't hunt so close to the research area.
"He's been hunting in that same spot for years. Of course, I wish he wouldn't hunt so close, but if it's not him, it would be somebody else that we didn't trust as much," said Rogers, who supports bear hunting.
Rogers said Hope did not have a research collar, as do some other bears they follow.
Biologists Lynn Rogers Talks About Hope
The hunter said he would never have intentionally shot a collared bear; however, even if Hope were wearing a collar, it is actually not illegal to shoot a collared research bear in Minnesota.
Hope was one of the most prominent bears in Minnesota and online. Hope's mother, Lily, became an Internet sensation when a camera in her den captured Hope's birth in January of 2010.
The institute said they have no intentions of releasing the hunter's identity.
"I appreciate he came forward and let us know what happened," said Rogers.
He said he'll ask the hunter for Hope's hide.
"There's such a story behind this bear that if he would let us have the hide for taxidermy," Rogers said. "It's an amazing story to tell."
Lily, Hope and her sister, Faith, are a part of a long term study of black bears at the North American Bear Center near Ely, Minn. Rogers called Hope "the most famous bear in the world."
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