Mink, New Hampshire’s famous female bear, has covered more than 80 miles since Fish and Game officials released her in the North Country just over a week ago.
She’s trying to make her way back home to Hanover, all the while being tracked by radio collar. The problem is, she doesn’t know which direction to go.
She’ll either figure it out eventually or settle into a new home, said Andy Timmins, who leads bear policy for Fish and Game. That is, if she isn’t shot or hit by a car in the meantime.
“It’s not fun watching her cover so much ground, in unfamiliar territory, and taking so much risk,” he said.
Governor Chris Sununu ordered Mink relocated, rather than killed, last year. That was after her then-yearlings got into a home in Hanover near Mink Brook, the conservation area where she lived.
Sununu was responding to public outcry over the decision to end her life. But killing her as originally planned might have been more humane than putting her through her current struggle, Timmins said.
Still, when asked Tuesday about his decision to spare Mink’s life, Sununu said he had “no regrets.”
“There’s no reason we can’t all live synergistically,” he said.
Timmins is hoping all the attention on Mink results in a broader reflection on how much to control wildlife on protected land, especially land adjacent to dense residential areas.
“A lot of the more recent calls about her were not about a bear that was doing anything wrong,” Timmins said. “It was just a bear that was being encountered on the trails.”