CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Not long after a stuffed black bear was mutilated, the West Virginia Attorney General’s office has a fearsome second animal on display.
The 200-pound sow was killed in December by Miranda Ware of Upshur County. She was 17 at the time. The Ware family and the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association are loaning the bear to the office for one year. After that, another bear is expected to take its place.
Eric Beck of the West Virginia Bear Hunters Association says his group was happy to help.
“It’s our state animal,” he said. “It’s part of our heritage to bear hunt, and we wanted to show people what a majestic and beautiful creature it is.”
Earlier this month, the Attorney General’s office asked Capitol police to investigate the vandalism of a separate black bear outside their office. Someone had cut two middle toes off the bear’s left paw.
The hallway outside the office was not monitored by security cameras at the time.
Since that incident, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office has taken steps to ensure both bears will remain safe.
“It is fitting that the state’s animal is a black bear,” he said, “because they are strong, resourceful and noble.”
Ware’s sow was one of 52 bears bagged around the state on Dec. 14, 2012. The Division of Natural Resources estimates she was about 4 years old.