USA: Popular Bipedal Bear ‘Pedals’ Killed by New Jersey Hunter.



Popular Bipedal Bear ‘Pedals’ Killed by New Jersey Hunter


Since the summer of 2014, people in an Oak Ridge, N.J., neighborhood were often visited by a gentle bear they named Pedals. The bear was missing his front right leg and had an injured left front paw, probably from being hit by a car. He adapted to these injuries by walking upright, like a real-life version of Yogi Bear.

Pedals would roam the neighborhood in search of food. “He does not have the capability of running from what he may consider a threat; he cannot climb trees as most black bears do,” according to a GoFundMe page launched in 2015 that raised almost $23,000 to place Pedals in a rehab center for injured wildlife. “He sticks to our neighborhoods because he cannot compete with the much larger bears in our area or navigate some of the tough mountain terrain.”

Pedals gained international fame after videos of him were posted to social media and broadcast by news outlets. At first some people thought it was a hoax, because Pedals really did look like a man walking around in a bear suit.


More than 300,000 Care2 members signed a petition demanding that wildlife officials relocate Pedals to a sanctuary. Last November, the petition was hand-delivered to the New Jersey State House, where it made its way to Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).


Pedals was “like a little phenom,” Lisa Rose-Rublack, who started the petition, told in June. “He’s causing so much commotion. But what people don’t realize is that the bear needs help. He’s not healthy. He can’t defend himself. What’s going to happen when he wanders into the wrong place?”

State Officials Denied Pedals a Safe Place to Live

The Orphaned Wildlife Center in New York, which is home to 14 adult bears, had agreed to take in Pedals and build him a new large enclosure that included a den. But first the nonprofit needed the approval of the DEP, which insisted Pedals was better off in his natural environment.

Because the DEP would not allow Pedals to be relocated to a sanctuary, Rose-Rublack’s worst fear came true this month.

Although Pedals was beloved by fans around the world, one local hunter wanted him dead. The hunter got his wish on Oct. 10, when he shot Pedals with a bow and arrow. When the hunter arrived at the Green Pond check station with Pedals’ body in the bed of his pickup truck, he bragged about the killing, according to the Pedals the Injured Bipedal Bear Facebook page. (The page has since been shut down due to people posting the names and addresses of hunters.)

Just as the DEP, which manages the bear hunt, denied Pedals a safe place to live, it now denies that it was Pedals who was killed. A terse statement issued by the department Oct. 13 dismissed “hearsay accounts recently posted on social media.” It said multiple bears with injured or missing limbs were killed during the current bear hunt period. “But without any prior scientific data taken from a bear, it is not possible to verify the identity of a bear that has been harvested,” the DEP stated.

An administrator of the Pedals the Injured Bipedal Bear Facebook page, however, has no doubt the popular bear was killed.

“We have verbal confirmation from hunters that were at the weigh/check-in station that he is dead,” the administrator told the Washington Post. “We believe our sources. There were only a handful of bears brought to that weigh station and only one with a missing paw. They examined him and told the group of hunters that it was the bipedal bear. The biologists also took many photos of him. Pedals has distinct markings as well as his front paw issues.”

Pedals Killed During Bowhunting Week

Although Pedals’ killing was vicious (not to mention cowardly), the hunter won’t face any animal cruelty charges. Six years ago, the DEP approved the return of legal black bear hunting to New Jersey to reduce the state’s growing population of these bears. This year’s bear hunting season was extended because of what state officials said was increased interaction between bears and people.

Pedals was killed during the week of New Jersey’s first bow hunt for black bears in 40 years, approved by pro-hunting Gov. Chris Christie. Bowhunters killed 368 bears last week; 64 other bears were killed with muzzle-loading guns.

As the director of the New Jersey Sierra Club said back in 2010, this is all about hunting — not about managing bears. Animal experts and conservation groups say a more effective and humane way to deal with the bears is by having residents take measures such as securing trash cans, keeping barbecue grills clean and installing electric fences around compost piles.

Please sign and share this petition asking New Jersey to end its black bear hunt, which isn’t keeping any residents safer.

“Pedals is at peace now, because his beautiful soul left his body when he was killed,” said an update last week on the Pedals the Injured Bipedal Bear Facebook page. R.I.P., Pedals. This video was taken about four months ago, when he was last seen alive.