BY ARISTOS GEORGIOU ON 4/16/21 AT 6:19 AM EDT01:06
Two college students came across a black bear standing in a strangely human-like pose on Sunday in North Carolina.
Erin McAllister and her boyfriend Zachary Allen—both of whom are studying at East Carolina University—were exploring Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Hyde County in the hope of seeing some bears when the encounter occurred.
The couple were driving down a road in the refuge when they spotted the bear standing in the unusual position.READ MORE
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While bears are known to stand on two legs, the couple said something seemed strange about its posture. Allen captured some eerie images of the bear, which McAllister then posted on Facebook.
“To be honest, when we both first saw it, we weren’t even sure it was real! It was standing so still and stoically,” McAllister told Newsweek.
“We had both never seen black bears in the wild before—but my boyfriend had seen some at the zoo in Grandfather Mountain, and could tell right away that the bear in that standing position seemed kind of unnatural and odd.”
The couple said they suspected the bear in question was relatively young, estimating that it stood at around five feet tall on its hind legs. According to McAllister, the animal stood “very still” as the couple slowly crept up towards it in their car on a dirt road.NEWSWEEK SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS >
“He seemed wholly unbothered by us, and aside from a slight glance our direction, continued on looking towards the opposing forest on the other side of the road,” McAllister said.https://www.facebook.com/v2.6/plugins/post.php?app_id=&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fx%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2F%3Fversion%3D46%23cb%3Df2de21a60a662c%26domain%3Dwww.newsweek.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.newsweek.com%252Ff7454e0346c65%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=500&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ferin.m.mcallister.9%2Fposts%2F3891235910996942&locale=en_GB&sdk=joey&show_text=false&width=500
“It was after a few minutes that I noticed a group of three similarly sized black bears run in front of our car, across from their side of the road, into the forest near the standing bear. Once this standing bear saw them—what we assume were friends, he quickly lowered himself back onto all fours, and ran off into the woods to meet them! We like to interpret this whole experience as the standing bear looking for his friends.”
McAllister said the bear stood in that position for close to 10 minutes, in total. She posted the strange images of the bear to a Facebook group called Carolina Critters, causing quite a reaction.
Several Facebook users commented that the animal looked like a man in a bear suit.
Meanwhile, one user, Brentley Norman, said: “Thought it was Bigfoot!”
Another user, Lisa Smoot Motley, said: “What great posture!! Some of the slouchy teenagers I’ve seen should take lessons!”
McAllister said the reaction to the pictures had been “overwhelming and exciting.”
“There are many people in this state who are passionate about wildlife, so it was no shock to me that they were as intrigued by the pictures as we were when we saw them in person.”