It isn’t sure who killed Pedals the Bear, or if he has actually been killed, but a new report has information on the man who purportedly shot him. A new petition has also been launched, with hopes of convincing New Jersey state officials to stop its annual bear hunt and prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.
The story of Pedals began over two years ago, when northern New Jersey residents began to notice a bipedal black bear who walked on his hind legs, much like a person wearing a bear costume. The bear’s two front legs were rendered useless due to injury, and it was this injury, as well as his unusual human-like gait, that endeared Pedals to people. He soon had his own Facebook fan page, and concerned citizens launched their own efforts to help give Pedals the Bear a safer home.
— ghost planet kit (@EastVillChris) October 15, 2016
Unfortunately, those efforts had gone to naught, according to a report from CNN. Close to 312,000 signatures were collected in an online petition requesting that Pedals be placed in a wildlife sanctuary. Similarly, a GoFundMe campaign for his relocation had exceeded its $15,000 goal by over $7,000, but that didn’t amount to anything either.
But with the famous bear reportedly shot dead sometime in the last week or so, everyone wants to know who killed him. On Friday, animal advocacy site Cecil’s Pride News posted the name of the suspected shooter — a man named Thomas McCreary — who allegedly mocked Pedals on his Facebook fan page, promising “something” for the bear on the week of October 10.
That’s around the same time the shooting was said to have taken place, and while McCreary had apparently deleted his posts after receiving threats from animal lovers, Cecil’s Pride News was also able to gather screenshots of Google searches with the terms “Thomas McCreary Pedals,” revealing his purported posts.
According to another Facebook page, this time an unrelated tribute page, there have been some suspects identified among those who may have killed Pedals the Bear, with no names mentioned. But the page’s admins have given a stern warning to all of Pedals’ fans, asking them not to message, defame, or harass any of the suspects on social media, due to the fact that the identity of his alleged killer has yet to be confirmed. As everyone is innocent till proven guilty, the page has advised people not to “do anything illegal/creepy/stupid” to anyone over the bear’s death.
— Amy B Wang (@amybwang) October 16, 2016
The admins, however, suggest that people do more than just invite friends to like the memorial page. They posted a link to a new petition launched earlier in the week, asking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other officials to ban bear hunting in the Garden State. Statistics cited in the petition suggest that over 92 percent of state residents are opposed to legal bear hunting, and while stats for the number of people who signed the petition so far are unavailable, its creators said that they plan to forward the list of names to Christie.
“Since 2003, annual massacres of the bear population has taken place drawing hunters from all across the country for a season of murdering for sport and fun. Hundreds of bears are killed every year during this government sanctioned killing and this year they’ve given an extension to this hunt.”
Meanwhile, those looking for definitive answers to the question of who killed Pedals might not get them yet, as officials have not yet confirmed his death. CNN‘s report on Friday also quoted New Jersey’s Division of Fish and Wildlife, which released a prepared statement saying that at this point, there’s no way to confirm whether Pedals was indeed killed sometime within the past several days.
“(The department) has no way of verifying the identity of any bear that has not been previously tagged or had a DNA sample previously taken.”
Is Thomas McCreary the man who killed Pedals the Bear? We can’t jump to any conclusions just yet. For the meantime, it may be best to reserve judgment, observe proper conduct on social media, and, for those opposed to bear hunting, at least review the aforementioned petition.
[Featured Image by RIP Pedals the Walking Bear/Facebook]