A zoo in China has been forced to refute any allegations its sun bears are actually humans dressed in bear suits, after a video of one of its bears standing on hind legs went viral.
Despite denying the allegations, zookeepers at the zoo published a statement yesterday (Sunday) in the voice of Angela, a Malaysian sun bear – because making them give a statement will somehow convince people they’re not human?
The statement read: “When it comes to bears, the first thing that comes to mind is a huge figure and amazing power … But not all bears are behemoths and danger personified. We Malayan bears are petite, the smallest bear in the world.”
I’m laughing as I type this. You can watch the video below – and I can kind of see where people are coming from, as the wrinkly folds of fur do make it look like the bottom half of a man in trampy trousers. But it’s clearly still a bear!
The situation has escalated to the point that the zoo are now arranging for reporters to visit TODAY to see the bears.
An audio recording has been doing the rounds on WeChat, where a spokesperson for the zoo has stated a deception of this scale would never occur at a state-run facility, and that in this 40C (104F) summer heat, a human dressed in a fur suit “would not last more than a few minutes before collapsing”.
Sun bears are known for being around the size of a large dog, getting to a height of around 50 inches tops on their hind legs – whereas grizzly bears and other species can reach up to 2.8 metres, the zoo says.
It’s not the first time Chinese zoos have been accused of deception. Apparently some have been accused of dying dogs to look like wolves or African cats, as well as painting donkeys to look like zebras (I’m sure that one actually happened).