Following a video of a bear standing on its hind legs and waving going viral on social media in late July, representatives from Zoo Tampa at Lowry Park are not denying that their bears are really humans dressed in costumes.
“Well, of course they’re humans in costumes. Have you been outside? It’s brutally hot out there,” said Zoo Tampa spokesperson Hannah Irwin. “Do you really think we’d expose animals to that?”
“We’ve been employing homeless people as bears for decades and nobody has had a problem with it until now,” she added. “And not just bears; orangutans, rhinos, giant tortoises. Even a couple of our giraffes.”
“We used to use college students, but there are a lot more homeless people than college students in Tampa now.”
“I get free food. It’s a pretty sweet gig,” said a man in a bear suit who gave his name as ‘Harvey’. “I have to eat bear food; honey, fish, termites. That kind of thing. I’ve got no complaints.”
Harvey put the head back on his costume as a child and his mother approached the enclosure.
“Mommy, is that a guy in a bear costume?”, inquired the curious 7-year-old. His mom looked up from her phone for a second, muttered “How should I know? Do I look like a geologist?” before going back to texting the man she’s having an affair with.