A bear cub has been found dead under a bush inside New York's Central Park, and authorities suspect animal cruelty played a role in the animal's death. The cub was found on Monday morning by two women walking their dogs. The women notified a Central Park Conservancy employee. There were signs of trauma to the metre-tall cub's body, which authorities said may have been dumped there. Florence Slatkin, a longtime resident of the Upper West Side, said she and a friend were leaving the park when her friend's terrier spotted something near a bicycle lying on the ground. "At first, we thought it was a bag of clothes or maybe a dead dog," said Slatkin. But then, as they got closer, they realised it was a very small bear "with its mouth wide open and scratches on the side". The cub's head was on top of the back bicycle wheel, Slatkin said. "It was terrible, and it was the strangest thing," she added. "Why was the bike there?" Police later dusted the bicycle for fingerprints. Bears are not among the park's known wildlife population, and there are no bears at the Central Park Zoo. No bears were reported missing from other zoos. The cub was being sent to Albany, where the state Department of Environmental Conservation was taking over the case.