A Zoo Is in Trouble After Taking a Bear Out for Ice Cream at a Local Dairy Queen
A Canadian zoo is reportedly in trouble after taking one of its bears out for an ice cream trip.
According to The Guardian, Discovery Wildlife Park in Alberta — a province in Western Canada — and its owners are facing charges after a Kodiak bear from the zoo was taken to a local Dairy Queen and hand-fed ice cream.
The news first came out in January after the zoo shared a video on social media, which has since been taken down, featuring a 1-year-old bear, named Berkley, sitting in a truck as its getting fed ice cream (by a spoon and cone) from the Dairy Queen’s owner while in the drive-thru of the fast-food chain, reports CBC.ca.
In addition to the ice cream, Berkley also had frosting from an ice cream cake, which was seen in a second video posted by the zoo two days later, according to the CBC.ca.
“We’ve got Berkley in the drive-thru testing out some ice cream so she can pick out her birthday cake,” the Dairy Queen owner reportedly said in the original video shared on Jan. 14.
When the incident happened, head zookeeper Serena Bos, said that there was no safety concern since Berkley was on a chain, reports the CBC.ca.
“There was never any public present. It was done long before the Dairy Queen even opened,” Bos reportedly told The Canadian Press at the time. “Berkley is a captive bear, so not a wild bear in any way.”
Serena also reportedly defended Berkley eating the sweet treat. The cake “is nutritionally not going to harm Berkley in any way,” she reportedly said.
However, wildlife officials disagree. Now the zoo and its owners are facing two charges — one directly related to the Dairy Queen incident and a separate event from 2017, where the zoo allegedly didn’t let officials know that Berkley was being taken home nightly to be bottle-fed, reports The Guardian.
“Under the terms and conditions of the zoo’s permit, the charges are directly related to the alleged failure of the park to notify the provincial government prior to the bear leaving the zoo,” Alberta Fish and Wildlife said in a statement obtained by the outlet.
According to The Guardian, zoo owner, Doug Bos is planning to plead guilty to the charges, claiming they “made a mistake.”
“We made a mistake. I’m embarrassed about it,” Doug told The Guardian. “Every time we take an animal off the property, we’re supposed to notify Fish and Wildlife, send them an email, and we forgot to do that in both instances.”
“I’m glad that they followed through with it because it shows how strictly regulated the zoo industry is in the province,” he continued. “Because there are so many people out there that think it’s not, they think anybody can just do anything they want.”
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Berkley isn’t the first bear to be spotted out and about eating.
Last week, a bear in Northern California helped himself to some groceries in a Northstar, North Lake Tahoe home.
In a video shared by the Placer County Sheriff’s Office on social media on May 3, a bear is seen standing on top of the kitchen counter and floor just eating away. (According to the sheriff’s office, this bear was particularly fond of the “fruit and bread.”)
Meanwhile, a deputy is seen trying to get the bear’s attention by knocking on the window in an attempt to get the wild animal out of the homeowner’s house, which thankfully, the deputies were able to do.