Animal experts have rubbished claims a Chinese sun bear is, in fact, a man in a suit.
Speculation broke online after a viral clip showed the strange bear standing on two legs, drawing attention to its saggy bottom fur and stumpy little legs.
Now, a video from another angle sheds new light on the bizarre story.
The Hangzhou Zoo in China quickly responded, writing as the four-year-old Malayan bear named Angela, ‘it seems you don’t understand me very well’.
They stressed that such deception would not happen at a state-run zoo.
Now, animal experts have weighed in on the issue. Dr Ashleigh Marshall, an expert from Chester Zoo, told the BBC that the animal ‘is definitely a real bear’.
She explained that the folds on its back, assumed to be evidence of an ill-fitting costume, help protect the bear from predators, as the looseness allows the bear to ‘turn around in their skin’ and fight back if grabbed.
The story has circulated world-over, with the zoo itself seeing a 30 per cent jump in visitors.
Mr You told a local news outlet: ‘After seeing this bear standing up on the internet, I wanted to see how it looks in real life, so I came here.’
The strange looking bear was seen standing on two legs and looking for food at the zoo
Qian Ming, one of 20,000 a day now making the pilgrimage, told local TV he had travelled 150 miles by train, from Suzhou, to see the bear.
‘We travelled overnight last night to get here,’ he said.
Hangzhou Zoo was quick to address the bear’s unusual appearance, stating: ‘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.’
A spokesperson from the zoo dismissed claims the bear was a man in a suit, adding: ‘If you get someone to wear such thick fur in this summer heat, they won’t last more than a few minutes before they need to lie down.
‘We are a government-operated zoo. There will never be situations like that.’
Temperatures in the region can reach as high as 40C (104F) in summer.
Angela has nonetheless captured the world’s attention since Sunday, racking up more than 30 million views online.
The zoo said that she is ‘dating’ a male bear named Dalu but ‘wants to take things slow’.
They also asked visitors to refrain from feeding the bears.
Sun bears have distinct features, such as a short, sleek black coat, a pale yellowish crescent on their chests (which gives them their name), and a light-colored muzzle.
They are also known as honey bears – due to their love of honey – and dog-faced bears… for their dog-like faces.
Big paws with hairless soles may look like feet, but are adapted to help them climb.
Sun bears are the size of large dogs, standing at most 1.3 meters (4ft 3′) tall on their hind legs.
Grizzlies and other species can be as tall as 2.8 metres (9ft), according to the zoo.
They are the smallest of the bear species and are native to Southeast Asia.
The state-owned zoo responded to allegations the bear (pictured) was a human in a suit
The zoo in China said despite the odd looking fur and legs, ‘it is a real animal’
Although no actors have been caught dressing up as bears in this way before, in 2019 two zoo workers at Yancheng Wild Animal World in Changzhou, China, were seen wearing gorilla costumes and jumping around.
The zoo said it was an April Fools’ prank after receiving a number of complaints.
MailOnline contacted Hangzhou Zoo for comment.
I am Rakesh Sharma, I associated with Elite News as an Editor, since 2021. I take care of all the news operations like content, budget, hiring and policy making.