A black bear has escaped from Adirondack Wildlife Refuge, Wilmington, NY.
On June 24, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge notified the media that their black bear named Ahote had dug out of her enclosure and was on the loose.
Ahote and another bear previously escaped from the sanctuary in 2019 and were on the run for two weeks before being recaptured.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected Adirondack Wildlife Refuge on April 5, 2021, and cited the facility with a non-critical violation for not having a perimeter fence around their outdoor animal enclosures.
"Fences must be constructed so that it protects the animals in the facility and function as a secondary containment," the USDA inspector wrote in the report.
Adirondack Wildlife Refuge was given until June 5 to correct the violation. USDA records indicate officials did not come back and reinspect to see if the perimeter fence was completed.
Just few weeks after the facility was required to have their perimeter fence completed, Ahote tunneled her way out.
Adirondack Wildlife Refuge said they were hopeful Ahote was still on the property after the escape. On June 27, Ahote was spotted a mile from the refuge.
While the bear is on the loose, Adirondack Wildlife Refuge said they installed a triple wire interior electric fence in their bear enclosure to prevent another animal escape from occurring.
However, the interior electric fence likely takes even more space away from the bears in their cramped enclosure.
“These poor animals are kept in the smallest enclosures I have ever seen,” one visitor said in a Google review. “There are three bears in an enclosure smaller than my living room. This place should not be able to call itself a refuge. Animals look completely lifeless.”
Another visitor said the enclosures at the facility needed to be updated.
"The bears can't even see anything, only people looking down at them," she said.
A third google reviewer said Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is a zoo running under the disguise of a sanctuary and rehab center.
“The cages were beyond disgusting and looked as if they hadn't been cleaned or even replenished with fresh supplies in quite awhile," she said. "The birds are in cages much too small to provide any sense of well being. The other animals show signs of constant pacing in the small enclosures. It's all they can do. I do not recommend this place. It's just sad.”
In Nov. 2019, the New York state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) revoked Adirondack Wildlife Refuge's rehabilitation license and the facility was forced to relocated some of their animals.
DEC representative Maureen Wren told Adirondack Daily Enterprise that the revocation was because of numerous violations.
"The action was the culmination of years of non-compliance with prior state enforcement actions, as well as repeated and ongoing violations of state and federal laws, regulations and license conditions that are in place to protect public safety, native wildlife, and the animals in the rehabilitator's care," Wren told Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Ahote the black bear remains on the loose. Anyone who sees the bear is asked not to approach her and to contact Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.