Bear researchers say the remote Selkirk Mountains, between Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, could support up to 90 grizzlies. Instead, the current population of about 30 bears has dropped by one. In late November an unknown person shot Sy, a 15-year-old female grizzly, who was the last bear in the Selkirks wearing a functioning radio collar. Sy tolerated researchers non-aggressively and taught several of her cubs this unusual ability to coexist with people, says biologist Wayne Wakkinen in Spokane's Spokesman-Review. He says poachers almost certainly caused eight of the last 12 grizzly deaths in the Selkirks, and that the bear population would have a chance to increase if people stopped killing bears. Officials in the Washington Division of Wildlife say they have a "person of interest" whom they suspect of shooting Sy, but lack enough information to press charges. The National Audubon Society (212/832-3200) offers $15,000 for information on grizzly poaching, and the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council (509/467-4505) offers $750. In Washington state, the toll-free poaching hotline is 800/477-6224; in Idaho call 800/632-5999.
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