Grizzly finds home among Mountain View Bears

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Generally speaking, a school lobby is about the last place you'd pick to exhibit crime scene evidence.

Unless that school is Mountain View High, and the evidence is a stuffed, seven-foot grizzly bear.

Home of the bear mascot, the school got a special delivery from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources wildlife resources division earlier this week.

"We got a random phone call from DNR in Calhoun," said Principal Keith Chaney. "They asked if we'd be interested in a big bear."

The man who called was Sgt. Brian Keener with wildlife resources division's law enforcement.

Keener said the stuffed bear in question was a 10-year-old piece of evidence acquired through a poaching case.

"It was a poached bear that had been confiscated," Keener said. "When we got the animal it was already in the taxidermy stage."

Keener said oftentimes with an animal which has already been "taxidermied," officials will try to donate the animal as an educational tool.

"It's a life-size mount on a habitat stand," Keener said, describing the evidence.

"It has one of its claws through a taxidermied salmon," he said. "A very high-dollar piece of work."

Keener used the Internet to locate an appropriate bear donor.

"We did a search of Georgia high schools with bear mascots," he said. "Mountain View was a new high school that popped up, so we contacted the principal."

Since its arrival at the school on Monday, Chaney said students and staff have taken note of the front office's recent addition.

"The students absolutely love it," said Chaney, adding that the new stuffed critter makes a total of three bears at the school.

One is named "Teddy," a skinned black bear rug splayed across a large coffee table in the front office.

Another bear, an old stuffed mammal named "Stinky," occupies an administration closet "for obvious reasons."

Chaney said the school hasn't yet named the new animal but has plans for a student contest. He said students also have plans to renovate the base of the stand.