Photos of the bear provided by local Instagram user @deadwildlife.

A dead black bear was found with a rope around its neck and all four paws removed along Highway 101 near Patrick’s Point Drive a little more than a week ago.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife Captain Patrick Foy told the Outpost today that officers don’t believe the bear was killed for its paws.

“The bear was hit by a car,” Foy said. “We believe that was the cause of death. Looks like somebody took advantage of the situation and for whatever reason cut the paws off.” 

The dead bear was first reported on August 31, at which time the paws had already been removed. Foy said that while stealing paws from a dead bear is technically poaching, any suspects would only face misdemeanor charges.

“That’s not as severe as somebody who goes out, kills the bear out of season and leaves the carcass to rot,” Foy said.

According to Fish and Game code 2002, it is unlawful to possess the parts of any bird, mammal, fish, reptile or amphibian if the wildlife parts aren’t taken through legal means.

As for the rope around the bear’s neck, Foy said that he suspects someone placed the rope there to move the carcass.

“It’s hard to say; we’re not sure about that part of it,” Foy said. “It could have been to move the bear. I have personally tried to move a dead bear and it is extremely difficult.”