WATCH | Unbearlievable: Tourists flock to Chinese zoo to see ‘human-like’ sun bear

  • A Chinese zoo has denied its bears are humans in costume. 
  • This, after debate over a viral video that some believe showed a staff member in a fur suit. 
  • Visitors have flocked to Hangzhou Zoo to draw their own conclusions. 

Visitors are thronging a zoo in eastern China’s Zhejiang province after a video of one of its bears went viral with some netizens suggesting she looked so human that she might be a staff member in a bear suit, local media reported on Tuesday.

Visitor numbers at Hangzhou Zoo have gone up by 30 percent to around 20 000 a day since a video of the Malayan bear, named Angela, became a trending topic on Chinese social media over the weekend, Zhejiang province-based Chao News reported.

“After seeing this bear standing up on the internet, I wanted to see how it looks in real life, so I came here,” said a man surnamed You, who said he had only half-believed the video he saw online, Chao news reported.

“After we saw the video on the Internet, we specially took the high-speed train from Suzhou to come over to see the bear,” another visitor, Qian Ming, told a Hangzhou TV station. “We travelled overnight last night to get here. The bears are so cute.”

In the widely shared video posted last Thursday, the Malayan bear, also known as a Sun bear, can be seen standing on its hind legs and stretching its neck out as it faces visitors watching from outside its enclosure, before sitting back down.

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It was when Angela was standing up that some netizens said she looked like someone wearing a bear suit.

One user on the Weibo microblog platform said: 

If this is fake it deserves an Oscar for special effects.

The zoo has sought to refute the rumour in posts on its official WeChat account and in interviews with local media, saying that Angela is “definitely not a human”.

“Our zoo is government-run, so that kind of situation would not happen,” a member of staff said, according to local media. “The temperature in the summer is nearly 40 degrees, if you put on a fur suit, you certainly couldn’t last more than a few minutes without lying down.”

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