Mink, the Famous Hanover Bear, Has Returned to the Upper Valley

Apr 12, 2019

Credit Courtesy of Patricia Campbell

A black bear sow New Hampshire wildlife officials relocated to the North Country last year in an attempt to keep the animal out of trouble in Hanover has made her way back to the Upper Valley.

The bear is affectionately known as Mink, after the local Mink Brook natural area where she often spent her time.

Over the years, she and her offspring became accustomed to feeding on garbage and birdseed around Hanover, home to Dartmouth College.

New Hampshire Fish and Game planned to shoot her as a last resort after her yearling cubs found their way into a home in town.

But public outcry ensued, and Governor Chris Sununu ordered the bears be relocated instead. The governor’s decision frustrated Fish and Game biologists, who argued relocating the animals may ultimately cause them more distress and did not guarantee a long-term solution.

Still, they fitted the bears with tracking collars and moved them north last spring. Shortly after, a hunter in Canada shot one of Mink’s offspring, and Mink herself began a looping, frenetic journey home.

Mink traveled thousands of miles over the summer and fall last year, before making a den in Pomfret, Vermont for the winter.
Credit N.H. Fish and Game

She traveled thousands of miles before making her way to a den in Pomfret, Vermont for the winter, said Andy Timmins, lead bear biologist with Fish and Game.

She’s now out, looking for food, and was spotted this week in Woodstock. Timmins said there’s no need for alarm, but local residents should make sure, as always, that garbage is secured and birdfeeders are stowed away.

Limited natural foods this spring and last fall will make bears more attracted than normal to non-wild food sources.