Two years ago, a video of a black bear walking upright on its hind legs went viral. It wasn’t a prank, it wasn’t a hoax. It was Pedals.
That’s the name the residents of southern New Jersey gave to the bear, who was spotted ambling past mailboxes, strolling through fields and sauntering into backyards. According to a petition, the animal was missing one front paw and the other one was injured, forcing him to become bipedal, hence his nickname.
Pedals became on an online sensation, with thousands of views on YouTube, campaigns to have him captured and transferred to a sanctuary, a Twitter page and a Facebook fan page. He made semi-regular appearances around the area, each time inspiring fright and then amusement with his odd affliction.
But according to that same Facebook fan page, Pedals is dead. Citing several area hunters, Lisa Rose-Rublack, who runs the page, said an area man brought a bear he had shot with a bow and arrow to a hunting station in Green Pond, New Jersey, bragging that he had killed Pedals after three years of attempting to do so.
The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife issued a brief statement, according to NorthJersey.com, that seemingly confirmed the post, though not entirely.
“There are pictures of a bear with injured limbs that was brought into the station,” spokesperson Bob Considine said. The department never tagged Pedals, making the task of positively identifying him difficult.
New Jersey is in the midst of its first bow-and-arrow hunt season since the 1960s, per NJ.com. Already almost 500 bears have been killed. The black bear population in New Jersey has exploded in the past 20 years, causing the state to expand the hunting season.
Meanwhile, the grief many felt at the news of Pedals’ death quickly turned to anger. Rublack posted on Facebook that many people were posting the names and addresses of hunters they thought had killed Pedals, and as a result, she announced that she would be shutting the page down.