Beloved Walking Bear Feared Dead in Hunt
New Jersey lawmaker wants to end black bear hunts
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2016 11:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – His unusual walk made him the most beloved bear in New Jersey. But now it appears that Pedals' days of roaming suburban neighborhoods on his two hind legs are over: The black bear is believed to have been killed by a hunter, reports the New York Times. It's not certain, however. Because Pedals was never tagged, state authorities say they cannot positively identify the carcass. Still, a Facebook group that tracked the bear's wanderings believes Pedals was shot dead with a bow and arrow, reports CBS Local. And a GoFundMe page that had been trying to have Pedals captured and relocated is no longer accepting donations.

Wildlife officials were never sure why Pedals walked around upright instead of on all fours, but theories included an injury to his front paws or perhaps a congenital defect. In the wake of his apparent death, a state lawmaker is pushing to put an end to New Jersey's annual black bear hunts for five years, reports "Bear hunts are unnecessary and counterproductive," writes Sen. Raymond Lesniak, whose online campaign includes a petition. More than 500 bears were killed in this year's extended hunt, the first to allow bows and arrows in about 50 years. (This man interrupted bear sex and paid the price.)