For the past three years, residents around Oak Ridge, New Jersey have been amazed by a bear that walks on two legs, upright like a person.

Could it be the source of Big Foot legends? Probably not, but the bear has been attracting a lot of attention lately. People even named him Pedals.

The bi-pedal black bear has been featured on news programs throughout the world, especially this summer in video clips taken by local residents such as the one below. 

Now many people are worried about the bear, who appears leaner then years prior and is often seen exhausted. They fear the bear might not make it through the winter. 

Nearly 300,000 people have signed an on-line petition urging the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife to relocate the bear to a wildlife sanctuary. 

“He sticks to the local neighborhood because he cannot compete with the much larger bears in the area or navigate some of the tough mountain terrain,” the petition states. “He lays down in the middle of the road with exhaustion.”

Although it’s viewed as an entertaining oddity to many observers, the bear’s habit of walking on his hind legs is the result of an injury from which he’s learned to adapt.

“Now with the news media he has become a celebrity of sorts and is now followed by paparazzi! He can’t run from them either!” the petition states.

The state agency, however, is choosing to leave the bear alone, according to a statement to NBC News.

“The best course of action is to allow the animal to continue to live its life in the wild,” the agency said. “The bear survived last winter’s very cold and snowy weather [because it] has been able to find adequate food sources […] without the intervention of people.” 

Photo credit: Youtube screenshot