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Formosan black bear at Kaohsiung's Shoushan Zoo goes viral

02/13/2024 09:07 PM
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Bobby, a Formosan black bear at Shoushan Zoo, stands upright and draws attention from visitors on Monday in Kaohsiung. Photo courtesy of Shou Shan Zoo Feb. 13, 2024
Bobby, a Formosan black bear at Shoushan Zoo, stands upright and draws attention from visitors on Monday in Kaohsiung. Photo courtesy of Shou Shan Zoo Feb. 13, 2024

Kaohsiung, Feb. 13 (CNA) A Formosan black bear named "Bobby" at Shoushan Zoo in Kaohsiung stole the spotlight on Monday when he briefly stood upright on his hind legs, drawing excited attention from visitors, netizens, and even the mayor of the port city in southern Taiwan.

In a video shared on Shoushan Zoo's Facebook page, Bobby was seen standing tall and walking slowly towards visitors stood outside the enclosure on Monday afternoon.

After getting close to the barrier, the 19-year-old bear nodded up and down, prompting some visitors to quickly snap photos and record videos of Bobby's behavior, which many said was very human.

This is not the first time Bobby has greeted visitors on two legs. In 2016, the zoo celebrity was spotted doing the same, sparking speculation among visitors, with some even questioning whether it might be a staff member in a costume.

Amid the heated internet discussion at that time, Chen Chu (陳菊), then-mayor of Kaohsiung, found it necessary to clarify that the bears in Kaohsiung are real, adding that the city "does not permit unsafe employment practices."

Bobby, a Formosan black bear and celebrity resident of Shoushan Zoo, stands on its hind legs in 2016. CNA file photo
Bobby, a Formosan black bear and celebrity resident of Shoushan Zoo, stands on its hind legs in 2016. CNA file photo

Kaohsiung's current Mayor Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) shared a photo of Bobby standing on his hind legs on Facebook Tuesday, reigniting discussions among netizens with the caption: "Yesterday afternoon, black bear Bobby stood up on his hind legs! People are still discussing whether it's a part-time worker?"

While thousands of netizens find the Lunar New Year's greeting from Bobby entertaining, many may not be aware that the Formosan black bear population in Taiwan is estimated to be about 200 to 600, as per data from the Taiwan Black Bear Conservation Association in 2022.

As the only bear species endemic to Taiwan, the Formosan black bear is classified by the government as an endangered species in Taiwan, including the leopard cat and Formosan Pangolin.

(By Tsai Meng-yu and Sunny Lai)

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