A zoo in Taiwan has been forced to deny that its prized black bears are ‘staff in costumes’ after a human-like furry mammal strolled over and appeared to greet delighted visitors.
Guests at Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung could not believe their eyes as they were approached by the black bear, who is named Bobby.
The inquisitive creature was caught on camera hopping over a log and standing on its hind legs as it looked up out of its enclosure at waving passersby.
Some suggested that its steadiness on two feet and comparable height to a human pointed to it being a person in costume, but the zoo rejected the speculation, saying anyone in a furry suit would be ‘too hot’ in the high temperatures.
It comes after similar suspicions were raised about bears at a Chinese wildlife park last year, sparking a furious online row over whether they were people in bear suits or the real deal.
Some suggested that its steadiness on two feet and comparable height to a human pointed to it being a person in costume
The inquisitive creature was caught on camera hopping over a log before standing on its hind legs
The latest video of a human-like bear, filmed in Taiwan yesterday, also prompted a huge response, with many joking that the zoo is ‘overworking students’ on work experience.
According to the zoo, Bobby also sparked discussion back in 2016 when locals first started to suggest that he was actually a human in costume.
However, the zoo clarified that Taiwanese black bears can stand upright in the wild.
At the time, Kaohsiung mayor Chen Ju also weighed in to confirm that the animals at Shoushan Zoo are real and not students.
Revisiting the popular debate, locals joked that Bobby appears more like a worker in costume than a real black bear.
One said: ‘It walks so steady on two feet, must be a work student.’
Another added: ‘It stands like a human. Its height is around 6ft.’
‘Shoushan Zoo is so outrageous, overworking students,’ joked someone else.
Another remarked: ‘Stop pretending. Take off the costume.’
A spokesperson for Shoushan Zoo denied their bear was fake, saying: ‘If a person did wear a bear costume, they would be lying down within minutes due to the heat.’
Similar accusations were directed at Hangzhou Zoo in China last August, when a bear with bizarre wrinkly fur and slender legs left people baffled over whether it was man or beast.
Bobby the Taiwanese black bear is seen in a all fours at Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung
The zoo’s Malayan sun bear was filmed greeting visitors while standing on its hind legs.
Officials also claimed that a human in a fur bear suit ‘would not last more than a few minutes before collapsing’ in the 40C summer temperatures.
Extraordinary video shows the creature reaching up to catch a snack thrown into its enclosure at Hangzhou Zoo – and comically failing to hold on to it.
The distinctly resigned nature of the sun bear has only added fuel to the theory it is in fact a human in disguise. Other observers have pointed to a saggy bottom, sparking theories it is a very life-like suit.
Sun bears are known to have human-like mannerisms and are the size of large dogs, standing at most 1.3 metres tall on their hind legs.
Hangzhou zoo said a person in a bear suit would have collapsed in the scorching summer heat
Video showed the strange looking bear standing on two legs, looking for food
Meanwhile black bears can be anywhere between five and seven feet tall while standing on their hind legs.
Other Chinese zoos have also been accused of trying to pass off dyed dogs as other animals such as wolves or African cats.
In 2019, two zoo workers at Yancheng Wild Animal World in Changzhou, China, were seen wearing gorilla costumes and jumping around.
Following complaints, the zoo reportedly stated that it was an April Fools’ prank.
In 2018, reports emerged suggesting a Cairo zoo was trying to deceive visitors by painting a donkey black and white to make it look like a zebra.
The bizarre creature was spotted by student Mahmoud A.Sarhani who was visiting the recently opened animal sanctuary at the International Garden municipal park.
A number of vets within the country were quick to confirm that the animal was indeed a donkey.