The body of a baby bear has been found dumped under a bush in New York’s Central Park in a suspected animal cruelty case, authorities have said.
Two dogwalkers found the 3ft-tall black cub yesterday morning as they went to leave the iconic park and alerted an employee from the Central Park Conservancy.
It is not thought to be from the park’s zoo nor is believed to have lived in the park, with officers now trying to establish how it ended up there.
“We’re always alarmed and distraught when any wildlife is injured,” Conservancy Spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaledin said, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We don’t know if it was injured in Central Park.”
Florence Slatkin, one of the walkers, said her friend’s terrier saw something on the ground near a bicycle.
“At first, we thought it was a bag of clothes or maybe a dead dog,” Ms Slatkin said, but after closer inspection realised it was a small bear “with its mouth wide open and scratches on the side”, while its head was resting on the top of the back bicycle wheel.
Officials say there were signs of trauma to the female cub’s body, the Associated Press reports, and it is believed it may have been dumped there.
Ms Slatkin, who is a retired transit administrator and lives near the park, added: “It was terrible, and it was the strangest thing. Why was the bike there?”
The cub’s remains have been taken to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the bicycle has been dusted for prints.
Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates told the New York Daily News: “Certainly, a cub did not wander into Central Park by itself. That's highly, highly unlikely.”Reuse content