Kennydale Bear MIA
July 17, 2008 · Updated 5:12 PM
The black bear of recent Kennydale fame is on the lam. Missing in action.
A 250-pound bear may seem hard to lose, but there’s been no sighting of the beast since his early June release into the Cascade Mountains.
The 3-year-old bear was clipped with an ear-tag transmitter so Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife and PAWS could track him. Fish and Wildlife officer Bruce Richards and PAWS Naturalist Kevin Mack have both made the hours-long drive into the Cascades multiple times, in an effort to ensure the bear is in good health.
Mack received a faint signal his first trip, just a few days after the release. But the few blips were not strong enough to indicate the bear’s location. Mack’s second trip brought back nothing from the transmitter. Richards has received no signal from the transmitter during any of his several mountain trips.
“Either the radio transmitter went bad or he ripped it out and chewed it or killed it, ‘cause I cant find it,” Richards says. “My guess is he ripped the antenna out of his ear then chewed it.”
Richards says the Kennydale Bear’s injured leg would likely prevent him from getting far. But, he adds, “It would be nice to have some hint of which way he went anyway.”
The Kennydale Bear likely injured his leg after falling from a tree in a Kennydale backyard in late April. After the fall, Richards took the bear to the PAWS Wildlife Center in Lynnwood for surgery and recovery.
Mack plans to return to the mountains to search for the Kennydale Bear. And Richards hasn’t given up either.
Richards turns on the bear’s transmitter every time he’s nearby. But he’s busy with other bears to rescue and release. Since June, Fish and Wildlife has had about a bear a day, he says.
“I’m still trying,” Richards says. “But after a while I don’t know what to do.”
Maybe trackers could use airplanes, he says.
“It’s a shame, but there’s not much we can do about it at this point,” he says.
Still, that doesn’t mean the Kennydale Bear is lost to the wild, so to speak.
“If we never hear from him again, we’ll know he made it,” Richards says.