A video showcasing a Malayan sun bear standing on its hind legs at a zoo in eastern China recently went viral on social media, leading to speculations that the bear might be a human dressed in a costume. However, Hangzhou Zoo, located in the eastern province of Zhejiang, has categorically denied such claims, affirming that the bear is indeed a genuine Malayan sun bear, albeit smaller and distinct from other bear species.
Responding to the online chatter, Hangzhou Zoo took to its official social media account to address the misunderstanding, speaking from the perspective of the bear in the video, named Angela. The zoo emphasized that Angela is undoubtedly a Malayan sun bear and not a black bear or a dog. The bear’s unique behavior and its smaller size compared to other bear species led to misconceptions among some visitors.
The short 15-second clip of the bear standing and interacting with tourists was originally shared on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, on July 27. The video quickly gained popularity, attracting millions of views, and sparked discussions about the bear’s unusual resemblance to a human, particularly due to the visible folds of fur on its body, resembling ill-fitting clothing.
Wildlife biologist Wong Siew Te, founder of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Malaysia, confirmed that the animal in the video is indeed a sun bear. He highlighted that sun bears can exhibit human-like traits, such as standing and walking on their hind legs. Sun bear mothers are known to carry their babies with their hands and walk in a bipedal manner.
The zoo declined a phone interview with NBC News, citing a preference for in-person interviews. However, an audio recording from Chinese state media featured an employee denying the allegation that the bear was a human in disguise, explaining that it would be impossible for a person to endure wearing a fur suit for an extended period in the area’s high summer temperatures, which reach 104°F.
Sun bears are the smallest among bear species, standing at most 1.3 meters (51 inches) tall, in contrast to other species that can stand up to 2.8 meters (110 inches) tall on their hind legs, according to information provided by the zoo.
The Malayan sun bear population has declined by over 30% in the last three decades, as reported by the World Wildlife Fund. These bears are listed as vulnerable on the red list created by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The incident surrounding the viral video has brought attention to the lesser-known sun bear species and highlights the need for conservation efforts due to threats like large-scale deforestation and hunting.
In the past, other zoos in China faced criticism for dyeing dogs to resemble wolves, adding to the importance of responsible animal care and conservation awareness.
Source : CNN
Read More :