CENTRAL PARK — A black bear cub was found dead under bushes in Central Park Monday morning, authorities said.
The animal, which had injuries to its side, was found by dog walkers at about 9:45 a.m. at West 69th Street and West Drive. The Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad is looking into the death, according to the NYPD.
"It was clearly dragged into the bushes," said City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who told DNAinfo New York that she had spoken to the city's Parks Department. "The police are investigating it. They are very concerned about it."
The Wildlife Conservation Society, which operates the Central Park Zoo, determined that it was not a bear from the zoo, spokeswoman Mary Dixon said.
"We have no idea where it came from," Central Park Conservancy spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaledin said. "It's extremely unusual."
The bear's body was turned over to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
"The bear is now enroute to DEC’s upstate New York office for state wildlife pathologist evaluation and to best determine cause of death," spokesman Peter Constantakes said.
Police said the cub appeared to have been cut.
"We're always extremely distraught when any wildlife is injured," Kaledin said.
Florence Slatkin, 79, said she and her friends made the discovery while walking their dogs Monday morning.
She said she first noticed an unattended 10-speed bike.
"When we got closer we spotted the head of a dead animal on the back wheel of the bike," she said. "I saw its eyes and I thought it was a dead raccoon and then I thought it was a dead dog. I didn't go too close but I think the mouth was open and bloody. It's very upsetting"
The bear could have been there for a while, said Lucas Altman, 43, who lives nearby. Altman's black Labradors were sniffing around the same spot Sunday night and had to be pulled away, he said.
"It's very sad," he said. "I'm very surprised."
"It's shocking," said Upper West Sider, Shelly Friedman, 56. "I walk around that path every day. I don't ever think about finding a bear in Central Park. It's mind-boggling."
— With additional reporting by Emily Frost