Baby bear found beaten to death in NYC's Central Park
New York Central Park autumn (Shutterstock)

A baby bear was found dead with trauma to the body in New York's Central Park, baffling conservationists who are investigating where the cub came from.

Police told AFP that officers were called to Manhattan's largest public park shortly before 10 am by a warden after the baby bear was found lying in a grassy area.

They said the bear was 3 feet long and transported to the Bronx Zoo.

The discovery baffled officials and disturbed members of the public, who go jogging, relax, walk their dogs and play with their children in Central Park.

No animals have been reported missing from any zoo in the city, leading to speculation that the bear may have been killed elsewhere and its body dumped.

"Very unusual," an elderly dog walker told NBC television. "I've lived in New York all my life and I've gone to Central Park with different dogs and I've never seen a bear."

The bear, somehow separated from her mother, was later on Monday transported to New York state department of environmental conservation in Albany for a necropsy.

"The bear is now in route to DEC's upstate New York office for state wildlife pathologist evaluation and to best determine cause of death," the department said.