Lame props really smack of an idea from these alleged experts. The so-called consultants (ex-news directors and managers playing a scam of recycling themselves as experts until they can worm back into another newsroom) come in with gimmicks and schtick.
It wouldn't surprise me if a outside research firm cashed a big check after they presented so called data and expertise to station management & reporters claiming the use props to "force" walking and talking stand ups and contrived video would engage the viewers. Use props to make a point, demonstrate but don't distract or make it hokey.
So you don't have video of the bear? Does that justify the lame cardboard stunt?