Footage of ‘bear’ walking upright in NJ may be hoax, expert warns

(Photo: Ian Bohman via YouTube)

(PIX11) – What looks like a bear walking upright may have some New Jersey residents thinking they witnessed an absurdly human-like bruin, one expert in that state isn’t buying it.

Larry Ragonese, spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said he’s watched footage of the creature four times and says it looks “sketchy” at best.

It’s hard to “tell if it’s a real bear or if it’s photoshopped or a person in a costume,” Ragonese said Thursday.

Videos recorded in the past month in Jefferson Township and neighboring Oak Ridge how what appears to be a bipedal bruin, walking on its hind legs as it wanders through the leafy New Jersey neighborhoods.

A voice in one video – echoed by comments below the YouTube posts – hypothesizes that the bear’s front paw, which looks as though it’s flopped in front, is injured thus necessitating it using its uninjured back legs to get around.

But Ragonese said that’s a stretch.

While it’s true that bears can stand up on their hind legs and that each bruin’s ability differs (one bear may be able to travel just a few feet walking upright, while another could go for a few yards), Ragonese said the creature in the video looks to be walking too erect and too well.

“A bear on its hind legs would not be walking as smoothly as (this creature) seems to be,” Ragonese said.

The videos have garnered tens of thousands of views so far and have been picked up by countless media outlets (including PIX11), which Ragonese warned to be “careful” about treating it as though the footage were real.

“It’s amazing with YouTube and social media how things that may not be become news stories,” Ragonese said. “I caution everybody to be a bit careful.”