R.I.P., Falling Bear, who burst onto the viral scene less than a week ago, spreading like wildlife wildfire into the meme of the moment and even generating a copyright dispute over the original photo and a policy change at the University of Colorado with regard to the work of student journalists. We hardly knew ye. Part of this, of course, is because you were a bear, and one doesn't really "know" bears, not really, not ever. They're hard to get close to. But the other part is that you are no longer with us, and therefore, even if we weren't terrified of you in the moments when you weren't tranquilized and falling out of trees and being viewed in photographs, we would not be able to meet you and get to know you. Because you are dead.
Yes, the bear that fell from the tree, the bear that we laughed at (because he wasn't laughing, not in that picture, and certainly not now), so hilarious and effortless and perfect was his fall, at least to the eyes of the Internet public: That bear has been hit by a car and killed. But let's backtrack. On April 26, last Saturday, the bear climbed up a tree near some dorms at the University of Colorado. He was seen, tranquilized, and dropped in his beauteous pose onto some Rec Center mats placed below the tree, a sight captured in a photo which inspired memes like the ones at right and those above. We know little of him other than his age (one to three) and his weight (280 pounds according to the death reports). We do not know if he was a he, but we are calling him one because he gives off a slightly masculine vibe. After the fall, he was "relocated" to a higher elevation. Near cars.