A doughnut-loving bear is “staying out of trouble” after it traveled thousands of miles to return home, say wildlife officials.
Dubbed “Mink,” the animal was recently spotted on her home turf of Hanover, near Dartmouth College after she made an epic journey back from near the Canadian border.
"The bear is currently minding its own business and staying out of trouble west of Hanover, NH," Glenn Normandeau, executive director of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department, told Fox News via email. "So far as NH Fish & Game is concerned as long as she continues to behave we have no plans to take any action with regards to her. It is our hope the public will also behave and not induce her into trouble by tempting her with food, etc."
The bear’s life was spared by New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu two years ago. The state's Fish and Game Department had decided to euthanize the female black bear and three of her young offspring in 2017 after repeated problems with them feeding on trash and bird feeders culminated with two bears entering a home in Hanover. But after a public outcry, Republican Gov. Sununu instead ordered the animals relocated last June.
The three yearlings were moved that year, and one of them was killed by a hunter in Quebec, Canada, within a few weeks. The mother bear left town to mate and wasn't captured until last year after she returned with four new cubs last spring. She was tagged, fitted with a tracking collar and moved about 120 miles north to a sparsely populated location near the border with Canada.
Last week, Mink made it back to Hanover after traveling a looping route through New Hampshire.
According to her tracking collar data, Mink spent the winter in a den in Pomfret, Vermont. She was back on the move by April, crossing the Connecticut River to get back to New Hampshire less than two weeks ago. Authorities have gotten few calls about the bear in the last year, and none reporting any trouble, said Andrew Timmins, the bear project leader with the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department.
Fox News has reached out to Gov. Sununu’s office with a request for comment on this story.
The bear’s reappearance has garnered plenty of attention, and she has become something of a social media celebrity. NPR reports that Mink, who is comfortable around humans, had endeared herself to some of Hanover’s residents before her relocation. One elderly man, for example, fed her maple-glazed doughnuts. Other residents, however, were less enamored of the animal, prompting officials to remove her from the area.
Normandeau told Fox News that New Hampshire has a bear population of over 5,000 animals. "While this particular bear has developed some notoriety, it is only one of hundreds the Department deals with every year in the state," he explained.
The range of the American black bear, or Ursus Americanus, covers most of the North American continent, according to the National Wildlife Federation. “They are found in Alaska, much of Canada and the contiguous United States, and extend as far south as northern Mexico,” it explains on its website. “They can live just about anywhere they can find food, but largely occur where there are trees.”
In most places across the U.S., the black bear population is stable or increasing, according to the National Park Service.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List also notes that the American black bear population is increasing, and classifies the species as of “least concern.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers