A bear cub has been found dead under a bush inside New York City's Central Park, and authorities suspect animal cruelty played a role.
The cub was found Monday morning by two women walking their dogs. The women notified a Central Park Conservancy employee. There were signs of trauma to the cub's body, which authorities said may have been dumped there.
Florence Slatkin, a longtime resident of the Upper West Side, told The Associated Press that she and a friend were leaving the park when her friend's terrier spotted something near a bicycle lying on the ground.
"At first, we thought it was a bag of clothes or maybe a dead dog," said Slatkin, a retired transit administrator who lives near the park.
But then, as they got closer, they realized it was a very small bear.
Police later dusted the bicycle for prints.
Bears are not among the park's known wildlife population, and there are no bears at the Central Park Zoo. No bears were reported missing from other zoos.
The dead 3-foot (1-meter)-tall bear cub was being sent to Albany, where the state Department of Environmental Conservation was taking over the case and performing a necropsy on it. It was unclear what type of bear it was.
"I never, ever would have expected something like this in Central Park," Slatkin said.