TRENTON, N.J. Pedals the bipedal bear can clearly stand on its own two feet but activists in his northern New Jersey terrain wonder for how long.
The bear, which gained fame after first being spotted last year ambling around neighbourhoods and caught in videos that were posted on social media and played on television across the U.S., apparently has some sort of leg or paw injury that won’t allow it to spend much time on all fours, experts say.
The question now is, how much should the state do to help one bear as hibernation and hunting seasons near? Animal activists and state officials are at odds.
Activists worry the bear’s health has declined since last year and fear it might not survive a harsh winter, though forecasters say this winter will likely not be as cold as last. They doubt the bear can run, climb or defend itself, or even eat properly. They hope it can be moved to a sanctuary in New York, but New Jersey officials say more information is needed before a decision can be made.
“We are not inclined to take (the bear) out of its natural habitat unless there is a compelling reason for it,” state Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna said. “We need more information. We need to be able to assess its weight and its overall physical condition.”
Complicating matters is that Pedals hasn’t been heard from in nearly three weeks. State officials say that may mean the bear is off foraging on acorns somewhere ‚Äî which would be a good thing.