Chinese zoo denies sun bear is human in a bear suit

Videos of a bear standing upright left some people wondering if the bear might actually be an actor in a bear suit

A zoo in China has had to deny suggestions one of its bears might actually be a person in a bear suit after photos of the animal standing like a human circulated online.

The sun bears from Malaysia are smaller than other bears and look different but are the real thing, the Hangzhou Zoo said on social media on Monday.

“Some people think I stand like a person," said the post, written from the bear’s point of view. “It seems you don’t understand me very well.”

Internet users questioned whether the zoo’s bears were real after photos circulated showing one standing upright on slender hind legs.

“Because of the way they stand, some people online question whether they are ‘humans in disguise,’” the newspaper Hangzhou Daily remarked.

Sun bears are the size of large dogs, standing at most 1.3 metres (50 inches) tall on their hind legs, compared with up to 2.8 metres (9 feet) for grizzlies and other species, according to the zoo.

Other Chinese zoos have been accused of trying to pass off dogs dyed to look like wolves or African cats, and donkeys painted to look like zebras.

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