A teddy bear has been implicated in 2,500 deaths. Of trout, that is.

State officials say a teddy bear dropped into a pool at a Fish and Game Department hatchery earlier this month clogged a drain. The clog blocked the flow of oxygen to the pool and suffocated the fish.

Hatcheries supervisor Robert Fawcett said the bear — who was dressed in yellow raincoat and hat — is believed to be the first stuffed bear to cause fatalities at the facility.

"We've had pipes get clogged, but it's usually with more naturally occurring things like a frog or even a dead muskrat," he said. "This one turned out to be a teddy bear and we don't know how it got there."

The deaths prompted Fawcett to release a written warning: "RELEASE OF ANY TEDDY BEARS into the fish hatchery water IS NOT PERMITTED."

He said it's not known who dropped the bear, but urged anyone whose bear ends up in a hatchery pool to find a worker to remove it. "They might save your teddy bear, and keep it from becoming a killer," he said.

"It's kind of a cute little teddy bear and people wouldn't think that a cute little teddy bear would be able to kill fish."