Mink, the infamous black bear sow that made the Hanover area its home for several years – and made an impression in New Hampshire and across the country- has died.
Mink was found on Tuesday near the Mascoma River in Lebanon. Andrew Timmins, New Hampshire’s bear biologist, says he had noticed there wasn’t much movement on her tracking collar for several days.
Early on, he wasn’t too concerned. But when he checked back on Monday and there was still no movement from Mink, he called a colleague in Hanover to check on her.
“Something was going on. That collar was not moving,” he said. “That usually means one of two things: that means the animal has slipped [off] its collar, or it can mean the animal’s not moving because it’s dead.”
Timmins says based on her injuries and location he suspects Mink was hit by a car.
This year, Mink had a litter of three cubs. Timmins says this summer Mink and the cubs were spending a lot of time eating berries along a powerline corridor, and mostly staying away from residential areas.
“She was a really amazing animal that was highly resourceful and overcame all odds,” he said. “She knew how to move around that landscape very successfully and did it for a long time.”
In 2017, Fish and Game had planned on euthanizing Mink and her cubs, after they had roamed Hanover’s neighborhoods for food. That year, two of the bears got inside a home.
But after public outcry, Gov. Sununu intervened. Mink’s cubs were relocated, and she stayed in the area until 2018.
That year, she was training her cubs to search for food from homes. She was then relocated to northern Coos County, and then made national headlines in 2019 as she walked thousands of miles back to the Upper Valley.
“The vast majority of people out there were pretty fond of Mink,” Timmins said.
For the bear biologist, Mink left another lasting impact in the community.
“Because of her, Hanover is a lot more bear savvy now than they were five-years ago. She taught people that you can’t have your bird feeders out, you can’t have your garbage unsecured,” he said.
Timmins says even though Mink is gone, it doesn’t mean other bears in the area are gone and that residents still need to be vigilant about securing garbage and keeping bird feeders down.
Timmins also recommends residents in the area call Fish and Game if they see the cubs, so they can be taken to a bear preserve in nearby Lyme. The number to call is 603-271- 2461.