A wild brown bear broke through perimeter fencing and killed Caesar, a popular male alpaca, at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, officials said Wednesday. The bear was tracked down and killed a day later by wildlife officials.
The large brown bear was seen hanging around outside of the zoo previous to its break in. The bear knocked over trash cans and broke bear-proof latches before it tunneled under the zoo fence early Sunday. The zoo and its facilities were closed to the public as the bear broke in.
“It went through the zoo and killed our older male alpaca, Caesar,” said executive director Patrick Lampi. “He was a crowd favorite.”
Lampi said the 16-year-old alpaca has been at the zoo since he was just a year old.
Caesar’s companion, a younger alpaca named Fuzzy Charlie, escaped from the bear and was thankfully unharmed.
The Brown Bear Was Regretfully Put Down By Officials
Afterward, a hunt for the wild brown bear ensued. Alaska Fish and Game officials helped search the zoo’s premises for the bear after it killed Caesar. They utilized infrared scopes during their search, but the bear had already exited the area.
“We made sure that all of our animals were where they belong, all our bears were still in their enclosure, and our tigers and all the other animals were unharmed,” Lampi said.
Fish and Game officials set up cameras in hopes of capturing the bear if it returned to the zoo. When the bear came back for a second time, officials killed the wild bear.
Lampi made sure to highlight that everyone involved regretted that the animal had to be put down.
“It was kind of a bizarre incident,” he said.
The zoo is located close to the foothills of the Chugach Mountains.
“There are occasionally bears in the area but they are usually not a problem,” Lampi said. “This one just had developed some bad habits.”
[H/T ABC News]