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

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(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.”

6 comments

  • Greg

    I can honestly say this is NOT a hoax. I work at Picatinny Arsenal and we have been watching this guy for almost a year now. I have personally seen this bear myself. Not only that, I have also spoken to Tony McBride of the NJF&W Bear division about this bear. It seems he may have broken his front legs at on time and they never healed correctly.

  • mb

    Larry Ragonese is an idiot as proven by the whole anaconda fiasco – too many people have seen this bear in town.

  • Gail Wachtel

    Not fake, injured. The “expert” should look at other eyewitness videos. It is clearly favoring one of its paws.

  • Steve

    This guy works for the Dept. of Environmetal Protection. How does this make him an expert on bear behavior?

  • Cor

    Ragonese is an idiot. I don’t know why we listen to “experts” who aren’t specifically trained for any type of veterinary care. How does he know? And Pix11, shame on you for publishing it as a possible hoax. If this leads to someone getting hurt because they think it’s a person in a costume, you will all have guilty consciences.

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