A black bear escaped from a refuge in the Adirondacks and she's been on the loose for days.

Ahote, a four-and-a-half-year-old black bear dug out of her enclosure at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on Thursday, June 24. She was last seen in Wilmington, New York, at top of Juniper Hill, about a mile from the refuge.

Credit - Adirondack Wildlife Refuge

Refuge officials say Ahote, has a silver DEC clip in one ear and is completely harmless. But if you spot her, don't approach her. "We're concerned someone might panic and shoot Ahote, who tends to run from people."

Work is being done to erect a new electric fence, just inside the bear enclosure walls. "We hope this will end any further attempts at digging out."

Adirondack Wildlife is a rehabilitation & education organization, whose mission is to take in, rehabilitate, and whenever possible, return to the wild, injured, or otherwise disabled wildlife. Black bear enclosures for two bears should be 25' by 25' with a den, a pond, and climbing apparatus, according to the Zoological Association of America. "For those who have visited the bears, you're aware that their enclosure at the refuge is '70 by 70', with three 50' climbing trees, as well as an elevated white pine runway for chasing each other, a large pond, and many play apparatus," said Refuge officials.

If you spot the 250-pound black bear with a silver DEC ear clip, you're asked to call the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge at 855-Wolf-Man, 914-772-5983, or 518-946-1197.

The DEC has tips on what to do if you encounter one.

Do:

  • Use noise to scare bears away: Yell, clap, or bang pots immediately upon sighting a bear.
  • Stay calm: Walk slowly and speak in a loud and calm voice.
  • Leave slowly: Cautiously back away from the bear and leave the area.

Don't:

  • Approach, surround, or corner a bear: Bears aggressively defend themselves when they feel threatened. Be especially cautious around cubs as mother bears are very protective.
  • Run from a bear: They may chase.
  • Throw your backpack or food bag at an approaching bear: This will only encourage bears to approach and "bully" people to get food. By teaching a bear to approach humans for food, you are endangering yourself, other campers/residents, and the bears.
  • Further Action
  • If a bear approaches you: Raise your arms and speak in a loud, calm voice while backing away.
  • If a bear charges you: Stand your ground. If you have bear spray (leaves DEC website), dispense directly at the bear.
  • If a bear follows you: Stand your ground. Intimidate by making yourself look bigger by waving arms, clapping, shouting, or banging sticks. Prepare to fight or use bear spray.
  • If a bear makes contact with you: Fight back with anything at hand (knife, stick, rocks, or fists).

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