ELY  (AP) - A researcher who helped make a worldwide star of a Minnesota black bear by airing her birth on the Internet says he believes the animal is dead.

The bear, named Hope, went missing in mid-September. Lynn Rogers, a researcher at the North American Bear Center in Ely, said he was contacted Tuesday by a hunter who said he shot and killed the bear.

The hunter told Rogers he didn't know the bear was Hope when he shot her Sept. 16. Rogers said he's confident the bear was Hope because every other female bear known to be in that area of northern Minnesota was accounted for.

Rogers declined to give the hunter's name. He also says criticizing the hunter won't help his center's research and education efforts.