A video of a bear walking upright through a New Jersey neighborhood has gained attention across the country, but is it real or just a hoax? The opinions of experts differ. Watch the minute-long video clip below, and the longer one further down, and see what you think!
Fox 6 reports that some experts think the bear may not be real, and the video of something walking upright like a human is likely a hoax. In particular, Larry Ragonese, an expert with New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection, said that the video footage looks “sketchy at best” and may be a person in costume, or the video may be doctored.
It’s true that the bear walks a startling distance on two feet, and does so with a gait more reminiscent of a human than that of a bear. It’s also odd that his stop at the trash cans is so brief. Still, the creature is carrying one front paw awkwardly, and it’s been suggested that maybe an old injury, poorly healed, has caused the bear to get an excess amount of practice at walking upright through necessity.
The video above is from Jefferson Township. Below is a much longer one taken in neighboring Oak Ridge in mid-July.
According to New Jersey Online, though, another local expert says the bear is real, and has been injured, but is expected to make a full recovery.
Kelcey Burguess, of the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, says that the bear was likely hit by a car, injuring both front legs, and that over the time he’s been observed, his movement has improved, and that he appears to be healing. Burguess says that officials will continue to monitor the bear, but do not intend to disturb him, and ask that residents do not, either.
However, the Division is inviting residents to assist by keeping an eye on the bear, and posting any photos or videos they have taken, as well as any information they observe, to the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.
On that page, officials say they’ve been monitoring the bear for six weeks, and implore the public:
“We have seen this type of injury before and it can heal with time. This is a yearling bear that is independent and on his own. We have seen videos of the animal and he is in good physical condition. Observe from a safe distance and let us know if it is seen down on all 4’s or the condition worsens. Do NOT feed or approach this bear. Please keep your trash containers sealed so the bear is not tempted to take advantage of an easy meal. Providing food will only lead to a problem and worsen this animal’s situation.”
As local officials continue monitoring the bear walking upright, they also warn that an injured animal may be dangerous, and anyone observing, recording, or photographing the bear should use extreme caution.
[Photo: Woodlands Wildlife Refuge Facebook]