- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - An injured black bear that walks upright and was spotted several times in New Jersey should be left alone, according to the executive director of a state-licensed wildlife refuge.

Tracy Leaver, executive director of the Woodlands Wildlife Refuge, told NJ.com (https://bit.ly/29P8XWo ) that relocating Pedals to an enclosure specifically designed for his needs in Otisville, New York, would be like “putting him in prison.”

“This bear has managed by himself for at least the past three years,” said Leaver. “He doesn’t need any help. He’s a magnificent example of how resilient wild animals are. What would be accomplished in removing this bear from the wild and placing him in captivity?”

Pedals has gone viral since he first surfaced two summers ago in Jefferson Township. Because of an injury to his front right leg and left front paw, Pedals walks with an unusual gait on his hind legs.

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife has set up a page on its website devoted to Pedals. A Facebook fan page for Pedals has more than 13,000 followers.

A GoFundMe page raised about $28,000 to build an enclosure for Pedals. But state Division of Fish and Wildlife officials believe he would be best served by being left in his natural environment.

“I understand everybody caring about this animal or any injured animal,” said Leaver. “But it’s a bit of a knee-jerk reaction. The appropriate time to help this bear was when he was originally injured. Now, there’s nothing medically that can be done. He has adapted. He just needs to be left alone.”

Pedals was last found roaming in Oak Ridge in June.

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Information from: NJ Advance Media.

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