Following a viral video showing sun bears in China’s Hangzhou Zoo standing on hind legs and appearing to be humans in lifelike costumes because of their loose skin, authorities were forced to make a statement that these animals are real.
“People don’t understand the species,” Zoo officials said.
A video surfaced and gained traction worldwide after bears in eastern China standing like humans on their hind legs and waving toward visitors, sparked doubt among people whether these species are real.
While responding to the concerns, Hangzhou Zoo snubbed all the speculations.
According to the zoo, sun bears are the smallest bear species in the world that are generally the size of a large dog.
These bears are found in the rainforests of South East China and are regarded as endangered species.
In the video, the sun bear is seen standing tall on the edge of its enclosure, holding its paws by its side and seemingly observing the zoo’s visitors for itself.
After coming across the video, users on the interest began casting doubt on how a bear could stand so upright on slender legs. The people also thought about a person in a bear costume after its skin bagging around its hips — with some regarding the similarity to those in an ill-fitting suit.
Hangzhou Zoo said: “Some people think I stand like a person… It seems you don’t understand me very well. 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 zoo emphasised sun bears are “petite, the smallest bear in the world”.
The post also stated that the bears stand around 1.3m (4ft) tall when standing up on their hind legs, which is less than half the size of grizzly bears native to North America.
Dr Ashleigh Marshall, an expert from Chester Zoo, stated: “The animal in the video is definitely a real bear.”
While speaking about the skin around its rear end, she said “this is a normal and very important feature of its anatomy.”
“The folds help protect the bears from predators, as the looseness allows the bear to turn around in their skin and fight back if a large animal like a tiger were to get hold of them,” added Dr Marshall.