A black bear cub was found dead in New York City’s Central Park on Monday morning.
The female cub appeared to have suffered traumatic injury but it remains unclear how it died.
Bears are not known to live in the park at the centre of one of America’s most densely populated cities.
They may not be kept as pets, and none were reported missing from local zoos.
Patrick Thomas, associate director of the city’s Bronx Zoo, told the New York Times bears once lived in New York City but had not in a long time.
He said a bear was recorded shot in New York in 1630.
Bears are native to the region, however. New Jersey, across the Hudson River from New York City, has one of the largest black bear densities in the US.
In that state last month, a black bear killed a university student out for a hike.
The bear was found under a bush. Investigators with the New York Police Department’s animal cruelty squad combed the site on the park’s west side for clues and concluded the corpse had been dragged there.
“Certainly, a cub did not wander into Central Park by itself,” Geoffrey Croft of New York City Park Advocates told the New York Daily News.
“That’s highly, highly unlikely.”