When animals display human-like attributes, it shouldn’t be surprising that spectators walk away amazed and in disbelief. Several internet trends that have turned up as fake have left the average social media user to hold some doubt about the validity of things they view online.
So, when a video of a black bear standing on its hind feet showed up online, several people were quick to dispel it as fake. Some people went out of their way to visit the zoo in the video, to see the bear for themselves, and make sure the video had not been doctored.
The zoo in question is located in the Zhejiang province of Eastern China, and the viral animal is a Malayan Sun bear called Angela by its handlers. Ever since the video went live and started trending on Chinese social media platforms, locals from neighboring provinces have started trooping to the zoo. Mostly, the visitors are visiting to see for themselves that Angela is indeed a bear and not a human paid to wear some costume.
Angela became the rave of the moment, so much so that visits to the zoo saw an uptick thanks to everyone wanting to see the human-like bear. In fact, a local media outlet—Hangzhou TV—sent a team to interview some of the guests thronging the zoo.
However, a careful assessment of the viral video will show that there was no way the recorded creature is a costumed human. In the video, the creature stood erect, and waved at visitors. Meanwhile, the video was captured from the creature’s posterior view, so, some folds appeared on its backside as it stood erect. That detail was probably the implicating factor for naysayers thinking Angela was a costume-clad human.
Interestingly, the zoo has also taken to its official WeChat account to dispel the rumors that have surfaced since the video went viral. It turns out that the zoo is not a private parastatal, so a government-run organization would have no economic motive to pull such a fraudulent stunt.
Also, the WeChat post pointed out the recent high summer temperature, which would be an unsafe condition for a human to dorn a heavy animal costume, and for long hours. Any human that agrees to such working conditions is very likely to pass out after a few hours.
On another note, animal rights activists have reacted to the trending video with a different concern. They shared that Angela and other animals in the zoo are better off in enclosures that better mimic their natural environment. For example, animals should be kept in wildlife reserves where they’ll be able to roam freely and interact with nature.
Perhaps it would be more likely to believe that Angela is real if she were in a wildlife reserve in the company of similar animals. No human would be willing to subject themself to such risk and visitors can trust that what they see is the real thing — a win-win for everyone.