A dead grizzly bear was found on a Whatcom County beach last week, according to a report from the Bellingham Herald.
“That absolutely was 100% a grizzly bear,” Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Dave Jones told The Bellingham Herald.
Jones checked on the bear after hearing reports. The male bear was between 1 and 2 years old and was found near Cherry Point in Whatcom County on Friday.
Grizzly bears are rare in Washington and it’s unclear how the animal died. No bullet wounds or other signs of trauma were found, according to the Bellingham Herald. The male grizzly bear had been dead for some time, according to a WDFW statement. WDFW biologist took samples for genetic analysis, and the incident was reported to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to WDFW.
It’s possible the bear was washed downstream during flooding, according to WDFW. It’s also possible it originated in Canada, which has a robust grizzly bear population, and grizzly bears have been known to swim from mainland Canada to Vancouver Island, according to WDFW.
Grizzly bears have been spotted in Eastern Washington around the Selkirk Mountains, but there hasn’t been a credible sighting in Washington’s Northern Cascade mountains since 1996, Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, told King 5 news.
Grizzly bears are a state endangered species in Washington and are a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act in the lower 48 states.
“When I first heard about this, it made me sad. I mean, how can you not be sad about a baby bear cub, washed up on the beach and what story it tells?” Friedman, told King 5 news.
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