It is looking more likely that Pedals, a beloved bear whose leg injuries gave him a distinctive walk and brought him fans from all over the world, has been killed by a hunter in New Jersey.
“There are pictures of a bear with injured limbs that was brought into the station,” Bob Considine, a spokesman for the Division of Fish and Wildlife, said in a statement. Considine told The New York Times the photos will be released to the public.
“I’m hoping he’s not the one, but there’s a strong possibility that he is the one,” Eleanor Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the anti-hunt Bear Education and Resource Group, said to NorthJersey.com.
This year’s bear hunt went on from October 10-15. Hunters were allowed to kill two bears per permit.
For the first three days, hunters could only kill bears using bows; for the last, either bows or muzzle-loading guns.
Pedals is thought to have been killed on Monday by a bow hunter. This was the first time in four decades New Jersey allowed bear-hunting with bows.
Hunters killed 487 bears during this year’s six-day hunt.
A local ABC affiliate gave the reason, which now seems grossly ironic, why state wildlife officials rejected this plan: “They fear that moving Pedals could cause him more harm.”