After a video of a sun bear from one of its enclosures started going viral online, the Hangzhou Zoo in China’s Zhejiang province quickly came under public scrutiny.
In the footage, a bear can be seen eyeing the tourists while standing on its hind legs. A number of people claimed that the animal in the video resembled a person dressed as a bear. Watch the video below:
In a statement pretending to be from Angela, the Malaysian sun bear photographed standing up and glaring at perplexed-looking tourists, Hangzhou Zoo addressed the accusations. “Some people think I stand like a person. It seems you don’t understand me very well,” the statement said.
The local Hangzhou Daily was the first to comment writing, “Because of the way they stand, some people online question whether they are ‘humans in disguise.’” Zookeepers have since emphasized that sun bears from Malaysia, which are the world’s smallest bears and are roughly the size of a large dog, are in fact real and different.
Officials also highlighted that a person in a fuzzy costume would find it impossible to withstand the intense summer heat, which may reach temperatures of more than 100 degrees. According to the Associated Press, the zoo has scheduled trips for journalists to visit and see for themselves.
Reacting to a video gone viral on social media, a Twitter user commented, “So after googling and watching several videos, I actually think that is a real sunbear! They look so weird and there’s a lot of videos of them standing upright and even walking like a human!” while another one said, “that’s definitely not a human in a costume, no way.”
A third Twitterati also posted, “They have weird fur…. God you people are so easily distracted.. I need to stop talking to yall all… can anyone google, yall gotta keep spreading misinformation.”
Other Chinese zoos have also been charged for deceiving visitors about their animals, including claims of painting donkeys to resemble zebras and dyeing dogs to resemble wolves or African cats.