The world’s smallest bear is finally having its moment in the sun – thanks to a viral video that sparked a conspiracy theory on Chinese social media.

Public interest in sun bears, one of Asia’s most endangered and intriguing animals, has rocketed after video footage emerged showing a bear named Angela in her enclosure at the Hangzhou zoo in eastern China standing upright on a rock and waving her paw.

The video sparked a global debate about the bear’s uncannily human-like appearance, so much so that conspiracy theories began emerging that Angela was really a human dressed in a bear costume.

Experts have since debunked those theories, attributing the misunderstandings in part to the relative obscurity of the sun bear, whose numbers in the wild are thought to have dwindled to between 1,000 and 2,500, according to conservation groups.

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