Rare Sun Bear is a Human in Costume: China Zoo Denies

Hangzhou Zoo in China has found itself embroiled in an unusual controversy after a video of one of its animals, a rare sun bear standing on its hind legs went viral on social media. The footage, which shows the bear interacting with visitors, prompted online accusations of a furry impostor, with some users suggesting that the bear may actually be a human in a costume.

The Video

The video clip quickly spread across Chinese social media platforms, leading to a wave of skepticism and doubt regarding the authenticity of the bear. Users pointed out the bear’s bipedal posture and wrinkled skin, which they believed to be characteristics more closely resembling a human than a genuine sun bear.

Responding to the growing speculations, Hangzhou Zoo firmly dismissed the rumors and assured the public that the sun bear in question is indeed a real animal. The zoo explained that sun bears, native to Malaysia, have unique features that set them apart from other bear species, therefore making them look different in comparison. The zoo emphasized that the bear in the video is a genuine sun bear and not a human pretending to be one.

rare sun bear
A rare adult sun bear

To add a touch of humor to the situation, Hangzhou Zoo issued a statement written from the perspective of the bear itself. In the statement, the bear playfully addressed the rumors and expressed its bewilderment at the allegations. It humorously mentioned that the zoo director even jokingly asked if the bear had enlisted a two-legged beast to take its place. The bear reaffirmed its identity as a sun bear and emphasized that its upright stance is perfectly natural for its species.

Sun bears, also known as honey bears, are the smallest of all bear species and are known for their distinctive features, including their short snouts and golden crescent-shaped marks on their chests. They are known to exhibit a wide range of behaviors, including standing on their hind legs, especially when curious or trying to reach for food.

Fact Checking

The incident highlights the power of social media to disseminate information, but it also serves as a reminder of the importance of fact-checking before drawing conclusions. In this case, Hangzhou Zoo’s swift response and clarification helped put an end to the speculations and reaffirmed the authenticity of their sun bear resident.

As the controversy subsides, the sun bear at Hangzhou Zoo can continue to go about its daily activities, charming visitors with its unique appearance and behavior. And for the zoo’s staff, it has been an unexpected and amusing episode, reminding everyone that sometimes, even in the world of wildlife, appearances can be deceiving.

What is a Sun Bear

The sun bear, native to Southeast Asia, has a distinctive patch of bright orange or cream-colored chest fur against its jet-black coat. They stand at about 1.3 meters (4 feet) tall on their hind legs, much smaller than grizzlies and other species. Sun bears are vulnerable due to deforestation and wildlife trade. Some Chinese zoos have faced accusations of misrepresenting animals, including a dog as an “African lion” and penguin-shaped balloons in a pool. Read more about sun bears.