Hunter who shot Pedals the black bear is given anonymity over death threats

By Daniel Bates

The bipedal bear has been compared to Harambe, the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati zoo, and Cecil, the lion killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. Photo / Youtube / videolandmarks
The bipedal bear has been compared to Harambe, the gorilla killed at the Cincinnati zoo, and Cecil, the lion killed in Zimbabwe by an American dentist. Photo / Youtube / videolandmarks

The identity of the hunter who killed Pedals the bear with a crossbow will remain secret after the authorities in New Jersey refused to release it.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection exclusively told DailyMail.com that revealing who shot Pedals would be a breach of their privacy - and even put their personal security at risk.

The department released the form filled in when the bear was brought in to a check-in station - but redacted the name of the hunter.

Pedals shot to fame after footage went viral of the animal walking around New Jersey. The black bear got his name for his tendency to walk around on just two paws, or bipedal.

Such was his popularity that the NJDEP said that releasing the name was likely to risk the hunter's security and could lead to harassment, after people called online to have the shooter killed or even castrated.

Pedals' death was confirmed by the NJDEP as having taken place on October 10 during its annual state bear hunt, although authorities initially said there was no way to prove it was him.

The form, obtained by DailyMail.com, is the closest that Pedals will have to death certificate and reveals that he was shot dead with a crossbow in Picatinny Township, where he had been spotted in the past.

Pedals gained international recognition after videos emerged of him walking on his hind legs in the town of Oak Ridge, New Jersey in 2014.

The black bear had an injured paw and was missing the other one making it hard for him to walk on all fours - so he walked on his hind legs instead.

The videos went viral and were seen more than one million times on YouTube, while a Facebook page set up in his honor has almost 23,000 likes.

After Pedals' death he was brought to the Green Pond check-in station, where the input form says that he weighed 334lbs and had a head circumference of 73cm.

Tooth and tissue samples were collected by the NJDEP and the form, obtained by DailyMail.com through a public records request, notes that Pedals was not tagged.

Pedals had a chest blaze, or white hair on his chest, the form says.

The NJDEP has included the license of the hunter who shot Pedals - but has blacked out his personal information.

In its response the NJDEP wrote that the "release of personal identifying information would violate the reasonable expectation of privacy of the individual(s) and could place the individual(s) at risk for harassment, thus raising personal security and safety concerns".

In bureaucratic language, the NJDEP added that it had "no way of conclusively verifying the identity of Pedals".

It said: "However, to the extent that your request is seeking records containing the name of the hunter who allegedly harvested the bear with injuries and chest markings that appear to be consistent with those of the bear seen walking upright in several videos taken from North Jersey residents over the past two years, the NJDEP has interpreted your request as seeking the "Check Station Input Form" for the Green Pond check-in".

In the wake of Pedals' death, a statement on the Pedals the Injured Biped Bear Facebook page read: "PEDALS IS DEAD. The hunter who has wanted him dead for nearly 3 years had the satisfaction of putting an arrow through him, bragging at the [check] station".

Pedals shot to fame after footage emerged of him walking around on his hind legs. Photo / Facebook
Pedals shot to fame after footage emerged of him walking around on his hind legs. Photo / Facebook

The statement was by Lisa Rose-Rublac who was one of the founders of the page. She told journalists that observers at the check-in station had heard the hunter bragging as he brought Pedals in.

On social media some people speculated that the New Jersey authorities wanted Pedals dead.

Edie Wendelken Savino wrote: "This is why they procrastinated. Not returning calls till days later after sightings. This was much easier for them".

On Twitter supporters began Tweeting #JusticeforPedals and said that his killer should be castrated as punishment.

Others wrote that they "hope and pray that someone (is) hunting you" and called the hunter a "murdering cowardly b******".

The identity of Pedals' killer had been the source of intense speculation and a post on Facebook said that the hunter who killed him "wanted him dead for nearly 3 years".

A man called John wrote on Facebook that he was Pedals' killer but his claims were never verified.

Another man called Thomas McCreary was outed by Internet sleuths but he denied it.

He told the New Jersey Advance: "No, I didn't kill Pedals. I've never shot a bear in New Jersey".

Before Pedals was shot dead more than 300,000 people signed a petition calling for him to be relocated to a wildlife sanctuary.

Supporters raised $22,000 to move him so that he would not be killed but they were unsuccessful.

On the Facebook page for "Pedals the Injured Bear", founder Beth Ann Bauman wrote: "Pedals was nothing short of amazing. His determination was inspiring...Pedals deserved better. It didn't have to end this way".

- Daily Mail

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