Chinese zoo sees 30% rise in visitor numbers as ‘human in a costume’ bear goes viral

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chinese zoo sees 30% rise in visitor numbers as 'human in a costume' bear goes viral

Attendance numbers at Hangzhou Zoo in eastern China‘s Zhejiang province have increased by 30% to around 20,000 a day after a video of a bear, named Angela, started trending on Chinese social media over the weekend, Chao News reported.

Scores of visitors have flocked to the zoo, with some people even travelling overnight. As the video went viral, some netizens suggested the Malayan sun bear looked so human she could actually be a staff member in a fur suit.

In the widely shared video posted last Thursday, one of the bears in the zoo 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.

“If this is fake it deserves an Oscar,” said one netizen on Weibo. Nevertheless, the zoo has tried to challenge the rumour in interviews with local media and posts on its official WeChat account, stressing the bear is “definitely not a human”.

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According to local media, a member of staff said the zoo is government-run, removing all possibilities of that kind of a situation from happening. If one puts on a fur suit in the heat, the person certainly cannot last over a few minutes without lying down, the employee mentioned.

Meanwhile, the animal rights group Peta said the incident showed how “these highly intelligent and social beings” in the zoo should be moved to sanctuaries and wildlife reserves that prioritise their wellbeing and help them thrive in their natural environment.

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