Wild black bear breaks into a zoo, prompts temporary closure

Wild black bear breaks into a zoo, prompts temporary closure

Outdoors

Wild black bear breaks into a zoo, prompts temporary closure

A staff member of Zoo Idaho in Pocatello saw a black bear roaming the premises and initially thought it had escaped its enclosure only to discover it was a wild black bear that had broken into the zoo.

It was the first known black bear to have entered city limits.

The incident unfolded Tuesday morning and caused the zoo to delay opening until 3:15 in the afternoon, according to the Idaho State Journal.

“Our vet came in to do his normal rounds and work with our staff, and at 7 o’clock I got a call saying, ‘Hey I think we have a black bear out,’” Zoo Idaho Superintendent Peter Pruett told the Idaho State Journal.

“I got here at 10 after seven and checked on the grizzly bears who were safely secured. I came down and checked on our black bears and they were safe, too. But just down the pathway this little guy was just standing there in front of the cougar exhibit.”

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Not for long, however. The mountain lion scared the black bear up a tall ponderosa pine tree near the cougar exhibit. The male bear climbed 70 feet into the tree and remained there for several hours.

Just after 2 p.m., the black bear climbed down to within 5 to 10 feet of the ground, enabling officials from Idaho Fish and Game to shoot it with a tranquilizer dart and relocate the animal to a remote location outside city limits.

How the bear entered the zoo remains unknown.

“He is a young bear and for all we know he is trying to find his territory,” Pruett told the Idaho State Journal. “Especially with boars, or young male bears, there is a territory that they occupy. When they are young they don’t have the strength or size or power to defend their own territory so they are constantly moving. Chances are he was a transient bear moving through the area.”

Photos courtesy of the City of Pocatello. 

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