Watch as ‘Pedals,’ NJ’s injured black bear, makes a comeback
After a long, cold winter, "Pedals," the injured, bipedal black bear that's been wandering around New Jersey for about a year, has emerged in Passaic County.
The black bear, who walks on his hind legs due to injured front paws, has been spotted a few times in the past week, according to a Facebook page dedicated to updating the public on Pedals sightings and his condition.
Last year, a GoFundMe page was created in an attempt to raise money to build a special enclosure to house Pedals at the Orphaned Wildlife Center in Otisville, New York. The page has already raised more than $22,000, but the NJ Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Fish and Wildlife, which would have to authorize the injured bear's capture, has indicated that Pedals would actually do better remaining in his natural habitat than in captivity.
On Wednesday, Larry Hajna, spokesperson for the NJDEP said that while the recent photos and video of Pedals haven't been authenticated by the department, the bear depicted appears to be healthy.
"We have not verified the authenticity of the video. However, if it is authentic, yes it confirms the appropriateness of our decision to not intervene," Hanja told NJ 101.5. "The bear in the video appears healthy and having made it through denning period quite well."
Pedals was first spotted last August and New Jerseyans took to him because of his unusual, human-like gate. The NJDEP believes he may have wounded his paws after being hit by a car, according to NJ Advance Media. Pedals left front paw is injured and he appears to be missing part of his right front leg.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.