LAKE PLACID - A hunter has shot and killed the well-known High Peaks black bear known as Yellow Yellow, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
The roughly 20-year-old sow was killed on Friday, Oct. 21 in the town of Jay, said DEC spokesman Dave Winchell. The hunter contacted DEC because the bear was wearing a radio collar, which was later used to identify her, Winchell said. Neither of bear's yellow ear tags were on her ears when DEC wildlife checked, and the hunter reported that the animal did not have them when he shot it.
Yellow Yellow was well known among backcountry users in the High Peaks because she was easily identifiable due to her two ear tags. The markers were given to her by the DEC in 2004 after she was captured as part of a bear study in the High Peaks. The tags were often noted by campers who had spotted her raiding their campsites for food.
"She shows up in a number of reports of people who have lost food that did see her, but more often than not she was able to get in and out without being seen," Winchell said.
Yellow Yellow gained nationwide media attention in 2009 when she was featured in an article in the New York Times. The article focused on the bear's ability to open a kind of supposedly bear-resistant canister known as BearVault. The writer described her as a "near-mythical creature in the High Peaks region."
"Yellow Yellow was famous, probably the most famous personality in the backcountry because people had read the article in the New York Times from a couple of years ago (or) they had encountered her," said Julia Goren, coordinator of the Adirondack Mountain Club's Summit Stewards. "They all knew about Yellow Yellow, and every single bear that people saw they thought was Yellow Yellow, whether it was or not."
Goren said this summer she heard reports that Yellow Yellow had furthered her reputation for intelligence by getting credit for opening another form of bear-resistant canister, called a Bear Keg, made by Counter Assault.
She had also reportedly gotten more aggressive with hikers and campers, something she was not known for in the past, Winchell said.