A dead baby bear found dumped in New York’s Central Park was killed by being run over, an autopsy concluded Tuesday.
The mysterious discovery of the six-month-old female cub in a grassy area in Manhattan’s largest park on Monday baffled conservationists and police who are investigating where the cub came from.
The New York state department of environmental conservation, which on Tuesday performed a necropsy, said that the cause of death was “blunt force trauma consistent with a motor vehicle collision.”
The department said it was investigating criminal offenses including “illegal possession, transport and disposal of an untagged bear.”
The female cub weighed 44 pounds (30 kilos) and was around six months old, it said.
New York police said the bear sustained trauma and lacerations to its body and that its animal cruelty squad was investigating.
The sighting of the bear disturbed members of the public, who jog, relax, walk their dogs and take children to Central Park.
No animals have been reported missing from any zoo in the city and no bears live in Central Park, leading to speculation that the bear may have been killed elsewhere.
“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.”
A 22-year-old hiker was last month killed by a bear while walking with friends in the woods in New Jersey, just an hour from New York.