Cinder was first taken to the California-based Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care, which treated her burns. She was later sent to Idaho Black Bear Rehabilitation to recover before being released in June 2015 at the age of two.
Her story even inspired a children's e-book, Cinder the Bear, authored by Barbara DeRubertis. Unfortunately, her real-life story has come to a tragic end.
Cinder has been tracked with a radio-transmitting collar since her rescue, to keep tabs on how she was recovering.The bear’s radio collar had stopped sending signals in October 2017, which at first led wildlife officials to first assume Cinder had gone into hibernation for the winter.
Rich Beausoleil, a bear specialist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, told Fox News on Tuesday that he and his associate in December 2017 hiked to the area near Cinder's den and placed cameras around "in hopes to get pictures of her" and possibly cubs.
" due to heavy snow loads in the spring and the cougar creek fire smoke in the summer we were not able to go back and retrieve the cameras until September 2018," Beausoleil explained.
It was then that Beausoleil and his associate went searching for the bear’s den, working on the assumption that the Cinder's collar had simply stopped working.
Instead, they came across the heartbreaking sight Cinder's skeletal remains. A hunter had shot her and cut off her tracking collar, which is why it was inoperative.
While it is legal to kill a bear with a radio collar in Washington state, the state does have "mandatory online reporting," which was not adhered to.
"The hunter only has to tell us the sex and the GMU it was killed in. All my contact info is on the collar but the hunter chose not to call. I don’t know why," he said.
Cinder was last seen alive and healthy by researchers in February 2017 when they checked on her in her den high in the Cascade mountains.
"Cinder did a lot for the residents of the Methow that were affected by wildfire — she inspired them to rebuild and move on from the devastating Carlton Complex fire. I’ll always remember someone saying, 'If Cinder can do it then we can do it,'" Beausoleil recalled. "That inspired me, too."
It makes me sick to think of Cinder's life coming to an end in such a violent manner, especially when it seems as though the hunter shot the bear purely for recreation.
Rest in peace, Cinder.