The 2-year-old Louisiana black bear was so scrawny that it was sent to a rescue center after its capture, where it taught a cub about foraging while filling out its own frame from 40 to 104 pounds.
The animal — dubbed Kris because it arrived at the Tennessee center just before Christmas 2010 — was shot and killed in southwest Mississippi in December. It had been tagged and released nine months earlier in Louisiana.
Wildlife officials are investigating and say a suspect — an Amite County man — could face federal charges because Louisiana black bears are protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The bear had done well in the wild — officials say it weighed about 200 pounds when it was shot.