A bear cub mysteriously found dead in New York City's Central Park on Monday appears to have been hit and killed by a vehicle, according to state authorities, but that information doesn't explain the central mystery of how it ended up in a bush near 69th Street in the first place. The necropsy found that the cub was a 6-month-old female, according to state authorities who say they're still investigating the case; it could have involved environmental law violations, including "illegal possession, transport, and disposal of an untagged bear," NBC reports. The cub's body was found by a woman walking her dog, and authorities believe it was dragged to the location where it was found.
Police and animal welfare groups haven't commented further on the case, and a bear expert in Canada tells the New York Times that most American bear experts are currently at a conference in Greece. She says she believes the bear was killed before it was taken to the park. "Bears are not going to go through a city," she says. "If it's not continuous green space from wherever it came from to Central Park, it seems unlikely that the bear got lost and wandered there." She adds that it's unusual for a female cub to be found so far from her mother. "Mother bears make male bear cubs disperse far from her home range to prevent inbreeding, so it would be less unusual if this were a male bear cub," she says. (Read more black bear stories.)