Pedals, tall-walking bear, killed by hunter in New Jersey [Photo]

Green Pond, N.J. (AP) — Pedals, the injured, tall-walking black bear whose two-year trudge through suburban North Jersey made him an internet sensation, was killed in the state’s first bowhunt in four decades.

The state’s Division of Fish and Wildlife confirmed in late October it had pictures of an injured bear that was brought into the Green Pond check station in Rockaway earlier that week.

The division refused to identify the hunter who killed Pedals. More than 430 bears were taken by hunters.

“There are pictures of a bear with injured limbs that was brought into the station,” said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Pedals had never been tagged by Fish and Wildlife, which makes a positive identification more difficult. But the division’s brief statement on the controversy came close to confirming what the Facebook group that made the bear famous had been saying.

“PEDALS IS DEAD,” said a statement that was posted to the Pedals the Injured Biped Bear page on Facebook. “The hunter who has wanted him dead for nearly three years had the satisfaction of putting an arrow through him, bragging at the check station.”

The statement was posted by Lisa Rose-Rublack, a Bloomingdale resident who led a campaign that raised more than $20,000 to relocate the bear to an enclosed sanctuary in upstate New York.

“The very place where they weighed him, examined his legs, confirmed it was ‘the bi-pedal,’” she wrote. “Where there were two biologists on hand taking many, many pictures.”

Pedals was frequently filmed as he wandered on two legs through Oak Ridge and Rockaway. The Facebook page that Sabrina Pugsley, of Oak Ridge, started made Pedals a cyber-star, but he didn’t survive New Jersey’s first bowhunt in more than 40 years.

“I’m hoping he’s not the one, but there’s a strong possibility that he is the one,” said Eleanor Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Bear Education and Resource Group, which opposes the hunt.

Considine said Fish and Wildlife biologists did take pictures as bears were brought into the Rockaway check station that Monday.

Rose-Rublack said eyewitnesses who were at the Rockaway check station said a hunter bragged about killing Pedals. But she refused to disclose the names of the eyewitnesses.

“We told them we wouldn’t give names and we won’t,” she said.

Her statement also suggests someone called radio station New Jersey 101.5 pledging to kill Pedals – but the station has no record of receiving a call like that.

Fears that Pedals has been killed reached a fever pitch just as the bear hunt was drawing to a close. As of sunrise Friday, 432 bears had been killed.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, D-Union, an ardent opponent of the bear hunt, took to Twitter: “Petals is dead humans can be so cruel,” he tweeted, misspelling the name of the bear.

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