Division of Fish and Wildlife Statement Regarding Oak Ridge “Bi-Pedal” Bear
October 2, 2015
In recent weeks, the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has received numerous calls regarding an online video and news coverage of a black bear that has been walking upright in Oak Ridge, Passaic County. The bear is walking on its hind legs only due to apparent injuries to its front paws. The Division of Fish and Wildlife has been monitoring its movement and condition of the bear since last year and assures the public that the best course of action is to allow the animal to continue to live its life in the wild.
Based on video footage, interviews with residents, and the fact that the bear survived last winter’s very cold and snowy weather all indicate that the bear has been able to find adequate food sources and go through the course of its normal activities, including denning, without intervention from people. This is a much better situation than capturing the bear and making it live in captivity, as many callers have suggested.
While some people who have contacted the Division have suggested tranquilizing and relocating the bear, this poses its own risks. Tranquilizing carries the risk that the bear may not recover. Relocation may reduce the survival chances of the bear if it is placed in an area where it must compete with other bears for food.
Fish and Wildlife bear biologists believe it is best not to intervene or make attempts to capture this bear. If the condition and health of the bear clearly deteriorates, then biologists from the Division of Fish and Wildlife will respond accordingly.