A 250-pound black bear is safely back home after escaping an Adirondack Refuge and being on the loose for several days.

Ahote is back in her enclosure at the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge in Wilmington, New York. She escaped after digging out on Thursday, June 24.

The refuge was closed for a week, as we crews worked to get the four-and-a-half-year-old bear back home. It'll re-open Thursday, July 1, and be open every day but Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 AM to 4 PM.

"During her 4-night absence, we finally fixed the digging issue," the refuge posted on Facebook. "Hanna, Don, Joe, and Farin finished installing an electric fence, and on Monday, Kevin joined our medical team of Kerri, Ashley, and Chris in helping get Ahote home.

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge is a rehabilitation & education organization, that takes in, rehabilitates, and whenever possible, returns to the wild, injured, or disabled wildlife.

Black bear enclosures for two bears should be 25' by 25' with a den, pond, and climbing apparatus, according to the Zoological Association of America. The bear enclosure at the Adirondack Wildlife 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.

Bears on the move in Central and Upstate New York. The DEC has tips on what to do if you encounter one.


  • 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.


  • 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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