Chinese sun bear waves in new footage as expert says animals aren’t humans in costume

New footage of so-called ‘human bear’ has experts and zoo visitors divided

Holly Hales
Friday 04 August 2023 04:08 BST
‘Human bear’ at Chinese zoo is seen waving in new video

New footage has emerged of a sun bear waving in a Chinese zoo, amid claims the animal is actually a human in disguise.

Speculation began when an initial clip from Hangzhou Zoo in China’s east showed the bear standing on her hind legs and gazing at visitors.

The zoo put out a statement from the perspective of four-year-old Angela denying she was a human in a bear suit after the interactions went viral.

The infamous Chinese sun bear waves at visitors

Now, a new clip has further brought into question the seemingly unusual way the bear engages with humans.

In the footage, Angela is seen standing up straight on slender legs and waving to the hoards of visitors who have come to see her since going viral.

Some social media users were prompted to point out the appearance of what seemed to be skin bagging around the bear’s hips.

“Those are definitely human gestures,” one person wrote online. “Bears can’t stand up for that long. Definitely not in place like that,” another added.

However, the zoo’s statement was quick to offer a solid explanation, from Angela’s perspective.

“Some people think I stand like a person... It seems you don’t understand me very well,” the statement read.

Onlookers were perplexed at the bear on its hind legs

“When it comes to bears, the first thing that comes to mind is a huge figure and astonishing power… But not all bears are behemoths and danger personified.”

The latest clip comes as Dr Ashleigh Marshall, from Chester Zoo, told the BBC the animal in previous footage was “definitely” a real bear. However, she added the breed often “look a lot like people in their costumes”.

Dr Mashall went on to explain the loose skin allows sun bears to “turn around in their skin” if they come into contact with violent predators.

One expert said the breed often “look a lot like people in their costumes”

Another wildlife park in the UK also shared footage of a sun bear standing on its hind legs in a bid to showcase the “natural behaviour”.

Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire said standing allows the bears “a greater view of their surroundings or [to] smell far-off objects”.

The park’s statement added that the stance can also be used to “try to intimidate their enemies by displaying the chest patch if threatened”.

Sun bears are among the smallest bears in the world and stand at just 1.3m when they reach full height.

Hangzhou Zoo has reported a 30 per cent spike in visitors since the first sun bear video went viral.

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