The spot at Central Park where the bear was found.
Sonja Sharp for The Wall Street Journal

A black bear cub was found dead Monday in Central Park, officials said.

A Central Park Conservancy worker found the deceased cub under a bush near W. 69th St. and West Drive Monday morning, a New York City Police Department spokeswoman said.

The employee called 911, and officers from the 22nd precinct responded, she said. The NYPD's Animal Cruelty Squad is now investigating the matter, she added.

The Central Park Conservancy, which confirmed the discovery, said it was extremely unusual.

"We're always alarmed and distraught when any wildlife is injured," spokeswoman Elizabeth Kaledin said. "We don't know if it was injured in Central Park."

She described the discovery site as a crime scene and referred further inquiries to the NYPD.

The bear cub was about  3 feet long and apparently not from the zoo, since no bears are missing, a law-enforcement official said. The creature suffered some trauma and has lacerations on its side.   The Bronx Zoo will conduct necropsy to investigate further.

Marianne Sponholtz, 63, a volunteer with the Central Park Conservancy, was on her way home through the park when she noticed the cordoned off area. When she heard about the bear, she was "shocked."

"I work in this zone and we've never found a bear cub," she said. "They do find rats, occasionally a cat, but a bear cub, no."

Dog walker John McKinley, 59, was also taken aback. "It makes me think there's a sick person who could  dump a bear cub in the park," he said. "Dogs are off leash before 9 a.m. — they could come up to it and it might be diseased."

Pervaiz Shallwani contributed to this article

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.