TRENTON, N.J. —The New Jersey black bear Pedals, who has captured hearts across America by walking upright on its hind legs due to an injury, is believed to be dead, officials said.
Officials with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said Monday they believed the bipedal bear Pedals had been killed by a hunter. The state's first expanded black bear hunt in more than 30 years ended on Saturday.
Rumors surfaced online over the weekend that Pedals had been killed in the six-day hunt. The animal advocacy group Pedals The Injured Bipedal Bear announced Friday on its Facebook they believed the bear to be dead after being bombarded with posts asking if Pedals was alive.
"PEDALS IS DEAD. The hunter who has wanted him dead for nearly 3 years had the satisfaction of putting an arrow through him, bragging at the station," the statement read."
Pedals, a black bear with a missing right paw and an injured left one, had become an internet sensation after multiple videos surfaced showing him walking around upright in northern New Jersey. Advocates had rallied around the bear in a campaign to get him placed in an injured animals sanctuary.
While the NJDEP's Division of Fish and Wildlife originally said they could not definitively determine if Pedals was dead, the department released pictures Monday showing the lifeless body of a black bear with injured paws — just like the ones Pedals had.
The department still says it can't confirm the identity of the bear because Pedals was never tagged and his DNA was never taken.