Pedals, the bipedal walking bear and Internet celebrity, is believed to have been shot dead with a bow and arrow in New Jersey.
The American black bear gained notoriety after being spotted strolling around rural suburban New Jersey neighborhoods on his hind legs. It’s believed he got his strange gait through an injury or a congenital defect to his front paws.
He was reportedly killed during New Jersey’s six-day "Black Bear Archery and Muzzleloader Rifle Season", which started last Monday. During this hunting period, at least 487 bears were killed by hunters, according to the New York Times.
The Department of Environmental Protection and the Division of Fish and Wildlife released a vague statement declining to confirm if an “upright bear” had been shot, as “without any prior scientific data taken from a bear, it is not possible to verify the identity of a bear that has been harvested.” They also added that a few hunted bears with paw injuries had been reported.
Nevertheless, in a statement on the 21,000 followers-strong "Pedals The Bear" Facebook page, which has mysteriously since been deleted, it was declared:
“PEDALS IS DEAD… For the hundreds and thousands of animals lovers who were following his story, I am sorry that we have this sad news to bring to you. PEDALS is at peace now because his beautiful soul left his body when he was killed.”
Prior to his death, animal lovers set up a GoFundMe page and a petition to get Pedals relocated to a wildlife preserve in New York. Unfortunately, the project fell flat and never came to light, despite 300,000 petition signatures. The people behind the crowdfunding page said the money will be used to “do some good in his memory,” according to The Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Pedal's loyal fans have already taken to Twitter to include him in the ranks of other legendary meme-fodder animals that have been shot in cold blood, such as Cecil the lion and Harambe the gorilla.