The North American Bear Center near Ely has lost another research subject. Cal, the brother of Internet sensation Lily the black bear, was killed even though he was wearing a radio collar.
Sarah the research bear was shot dead earlier in September, and the researchers at the center now believe that Cal was killed earlier than Sarah.[jump]
"Cal was radio-collared but had no ribbons, so we're not blaming the hunter," researchers Lynn Rogers and Sue Mansfield wrote on their Facebook page.
They described him as a "sweetheart" who wandered far and wide, including into Ontario. And he has been featured in documentaries and TV shows, including "Bearwalker," by the BBC, and on Animal Planet in 2007.
Bear hunting season opened on Sept. 1. Cal was found killed killed about 20 miles north of McGregor, Minn. on Sept. 3. More than 600 people have left messages, mostly of sympathy, on the bear center's Facebook page.
Lily the black bear earned her spot in Internet lore last January when she gave birth to a cub named Hope as the world looked on via a live connection to a camera mounted in her den.
The bear center learned of Sarah's death after her blood-spattered radio collar festooned with bright pink ribbons was anonymously handed over to Minnesota DNR officials.
It's not illegal to shoot research bears in Minnesota. Last year, a rookie 12-year-old hunter bagged one. But after Sarah's death, Rogers said he would likely push for legislation to change that.