Even though Australia has no shortage of real creatures that can endanger your life and wellbeing, we still went ahead and invented the drop bear—the nasty, carnivorous, angry cousin of the cuddly koala.
In a long-standing tradition of trying to ruin our tourism industry by telling tall tales, drop bears (Thylarctos plummetus) have become a folklore staple. According to a straight-faced species entry on the Australian Museum website, the animals are never encountered near roads or human habitation, but it looks like the town of Tamworth in northern New South Wales has become an exception.
Today it was announced that Tamworth Regional Council has approved the idea to give a previously unnamed road the name ‘Drop Bear Lane’. It started out as a humorous proposal floated by a local resident, but it gained such a positive reaction from the public that the council actually went ahead with it.
The name was approved by the NSW Geographical Names Board late last year, and now after the council’s final approval we can expect to find Drop Bear Lane on maps and street directories shortly.
The road is in a bushy area with a creek nearby, and Tamworth mayor Col Murray has told ABC News that the “wonderful, mythical Australian creature will have a very happy habitat up there.”
The council will be installing the Drop Bear Lane street sign within the next few days, and it is set to become a likely tourist attraction. Now the council will have to figure out a way to dissuade potential vandals from stealing it as a novelty.
"There has even been discussion about having some replica signs made up for people to use,” Murray told ABC News. “One of our tourism operators said it's something he may be able to sell to the tourists.”
Header image: Artist’s impression of a vicious drop bear. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/YAMAVU CC BY-SA 3.0