China zoo denies allegations that star attraction is a man in a sun bear costume
It is a bearly believable sight.
In a video that has gone viral, a black-coloured bear at a zoo in China can be seen standing on its two hind legs on the precipice of a rock feature, and interacting with tourists by waving its paws.
However, there is apparently more than meets the eye at the sun bear exhibit at Hangzhou Zoo, which is reportedly a popular tourist attraction.
The netizen who posted the video is convinced that the “talented” bear is actually a human in a costume, reported Hangzhou Daily.
The zoo on Saturday denied the charge, adding that the temperature on the day the video was taken was 40 deg C, and a person wearing a suit would not be able to tolerate the heat.
Despite this, some people continue to believe that the black bear was a human in a costume, reported another Chinese news outlet, Jimu News.
They pointed to the bear’s human-like movements while standing and waving, and also what appeared to be pants-like folds around its rear when standing.
Commenters on the Jimu article were equally doubtful.
“Its posture is more (upright) than humans!” said one.
Another claimed: “Bears’ forelimbs cannot be spread out to the sides. This is undoubtedly a human being.”
One Weibo user commented on a video of the attraction that the bear “looks like it’s wearing a leather jacket”.
This is not the first time a zoo in China has grabbed the headlines for eyebrow raising exhibits.
In 2019, Yancheng Wild Animal World in Changzhou, a city in eastern China’s Jiangsu Province, sparked controversy after asking its workers to dress as gorillas, reported British newspaper Daily Mail.
The bizarre sight of two zookeepers jumping around the gorilla enclosure in full-body costumes was spotted by a parent.
The zoo defended itself, and said that the “human gorillas” were a special programme designed to entertain tourists on April Fool’s Day. It added that it had not expected the arrangement to cause misunderstanding from visitors.
And in 2013, CNN reported that a zoo in Luohe, Henan, tried to pass off a large hairy dog as a lion.
A visitor told Beijing Youth Daily that when she and her son approached the cage marked “African lion”, they were greeted not by a mighty roar, but a bark.
The furry beast turned out to be a Tibetan mastiff.
Other animals in the park were similarly mislabelled, Beijing Youth Daily reported, with another dog in the wolf cage, and a white fox on display in the leopard enclosure.
The park told CNN that the animals had been substituted for various unspecified reasons, and would be returned to their rightful places.