A bipedal bear won over hearts and minds as it meandered through neighborhoods, but its sudden death has triggered outrage.
The strange sight of a bear walking on its hind legs like a human through human-inhabited neighborhoods was enough to generate its own fan club. Unfortunately, it appears that the bear has died, and people are up in arms about it.
New Jersey’s black bear hunts have long been the subject of anger from animal rights activists, but the death of one bipedal bear that drew a social media following is sparking considerable outrage, and has become a rallying cry for those who want to ban the hunt, according to media reports.
Nicknamed “Pedals,” the black bear was first reported about two years ago in Jefferson Township and caught everyone’s attention because it walked on its hind legs. Officials now think he was killed in a bear hunt in October, with pictures released of the bear and its injured paws, which are believed to be the reason it walked upright.
“Our numbers have always been high, but the killing of Pedals has caused our support to increase,” said Janine Motta, programs director for the Bear Education And Resource program, according to an NBC Philadelphia report. “Here was one particular bear that people may have known, seen or just followed on Facebook. They felt a connection with Pedals. When he was killed, it became personal for those who loved him, and that translated into a greater awareness of the hunt in general and the realization that all bears who are killed are important.”
An estimated total of 3,500 bears live in New Jersey north of Interstate 80, which is the upper portion of the state.