Adirondack Wildlife Refuge temporarily closes


Photo from Facebook/Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, Wilmington, NY, has temporarily closed their doors, citing a cancer diagnosis and ongoing licensing issues with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).


The facility has been in hot water after two of their bears escaped in June. Both bears were later recaptured.


This was the second time the bears have escaped from the facility. In 2019, both bears broke out of their enclosure and were on the run for two weeks before they were recaptured.


The USDA inspected Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on July 6 and cited the facility with three violations for an unsafe enclosure that allowed the bears to escape, for failing to have a complete perimeter fence and for failing to employ an attending veterinarian.


In 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service denied Adirondack Wildlife Refuge's applications for state and federal rehabilitation permits for migratory birds and mammals. The permits were denied for “repeated failure to comply with applicable federal and state regulations and guidelines,” according to a press release.


The refuge is owned by Steve and Wendy Hall. In a Facebook post, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge said that Wendy has been diagnosed with cancer.


"At the same time, most of our followers are aware we have had difficulties with the DEC over licensing, which our lawyers are still trying to work out," the post said. "For these reasons, we are temporarily closed to the public, but will be providing updates."


The DEC said the circumstances of the recent bear escape at Adirondack Wildlife Refuge are under review.