For those who believe that Bigfoot sightings have some sort of logical explanation (a person in a costume, an animal walking upright, bad camera angle, excessive drinking, etc.), the story of the bipedal bear in New Jersey provided perfect evidence. It first appeared in 2014 and videos of it went viral, with many of them and additional photos taken at a distance making it look a lot like a Sasquatch without the need for squinting or suspending much belief. Unfortunately, those who were captivated by the bear have sadly reported that it was killed during this year’s annual bear hunt in New Jersey.
The story begins in August 2014 when residents of Oak Ridge, New Jersey, started sharing tales of seeing a large furry creature walking upright around the neighborhood and poking in their garbage. Photographs and videos quickly appeared and whizzed around the Internet, endearing the bear to millions who nicknamed him (a male) Pedals because he was bipedal.
Wildlife officials determined the bear walked upright because it was too painful to put weight on a partially missing right front leg and wounded left front paw that were probably the result of an encounter with a car. While there were calls to capture the bear and place it in a location where it was safer and cared for, the state officials decided there was enough bear food – both wild and garbage can variety – to keep it fed and away from cars.
Pedals’ resemblance to a Bigfoot did not slip past many people, including Bigfoot experts who conceded that a number of sightings in New Jersey and elsewhere could be attributed to a bipedal bear like Pedals with similar injuries or conditions that forced it to walk upright exclusively.
After disappearing as bears do in the winter of 2014, locals waited for the return of Pedals in the fall of 2015. When the bear hadn’t reappeared by late November with bear hunting season approaching, fans appealed again to wildlife officials to find and save Pedals. When he finally made a brief appearance in mid-December 2015, they were relieved but concerned that he looked weak. Again, wildlife officials declined to intervene.
In 2016, the search for Pedals became a social media cause with the bipedal bear getting a Facebook page and a fundraiser collected over $22,000 to catch him and pay for his care at a nearby bear rehab center. He was spotted on the Old Woodland trail near the golf course in Oak Ridge, N.J. on June 21st and was said to look much healthier. Unfortunately, the local bear population had increased and New Jersey’s bear season was expanded to accommodate it.
On October 14, it was announced on the Facebook page that the killing of Pedals had been confirmed by photographs taken at a wildlife station showing its injured paws.
The story of Pedals is back in the news this week as the second segment of New Jersey’s black bear hunting season begins. Pedals fans and animal rights activists are protesting the hunt with the memory of Pedals as their battle flag.
The passing of Pedals means one less Bigfoot impersonator to be fooled by … unless Pedals showed other bears the benefits of walking on two legs