New Jersey residents and a New York animal rescue are racing to try to help a bear with an injury so severe it can only walk on its hind legs like a human.
The bear, nicknamed "Pedals" by neighbors in Oak Ridge, New Jersey, has been seen wandering near homes upright and also eating crab apples and sleeping in lawns. The bear first gained notoriety after video of him trotting down a neighborhood street was posted on YouTube.
"You see it on TV or you see it on YouTube or whatever, but to see it in person is pretty good," one resident said.
But a year after the video was posted, residents are becoming concerned that the bear, who appears to have lost weight and is often seen panting or foaming at the mouth, won't make it through the winter.
Sabrina Pugsley has had many encounters with Pedals. She has become so worried about the bear that she's led an online campaign to send him to a wildlife sanctuary Upstate.
"He just looked terrible," Pugsley said of a recent encounter. "He was panting, he had foam around his mouth. He had actually been chased around the neighborhood by a bunch of teenagers in a car."
So far Pugsley has raised more than $22,000 as part of the online campaign. She has also collected nearly 80,000 signatures online calling on the NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife to move him.
In a statement the NJDEP Division of Fish & Wildlife said that the bear shouldn't be relocated to a sanctuary.
"The best course of action is to allow the animal to continue to live its life in the wild," the agency said. "The bear survived last winter's very cold and snowy weather [because it] has been able to find adequate food sources [...] without the intervention of people."
"Leave it alone," one resident, who believed the bear shouldn't be moved out of the area, said. "It's not hurting anybody and people actually feed it. It's able to forage and take care of itself. It has been around for numerous years so it must be doing okay."
For now, Pedals will stay a fixture of the neighborhood, crossing streets upright and appearing and disappearing behind fences and homes.