Thursday, June 23, 2016

Walking Bear Re-emerges Months After Last Sighting

OAK RIDGE — "Pedals," the injured black bear who earned the nickname by walking upright, is alive and well after not being seen through much of the winter.

The bipedal bear, who has become a social media darling, was spotted on the Old Woodland trail near the golf course.

The beloved black bear was last seen Dec. 21 in West Milford and there was concern that he wouldn't make it through the winter.

Recently, Lawrence Hajna, a spokesman for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Agency's Division of Fish and Wildlife, said there had been no reported sightings of him and asked the public for help.

In the latest video, the black bear appears to be in relatively good health and is moving briskly. At his last sighting, he was estimated to weigh approximately 350 pounds.

Pedals is walking on his two hind legs because of injuries to his front paws. Hajna said the black bear would adapt to the injury and that appears to be the case.

The black bear with the distinctive gait was first spotted in August. He's missing part of his front, right leg and has an injured left front paw, authorities have said. The public immediately took to the wounded animal. Kelcey Burguess, a black bear biologist with the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife, has said the bear most likely got hit by a car.

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