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Two Brown Bears Shot And Killed At Zoo After Escaping Enclosure

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Two Brown Bears Shot And Killed At Zoo After Escaping Enclosure

Two brown bears have been shot and killed at a zoo after escaping their enclosure.

The female bears, called Snow White and Sleeping Beauty, were shot after climbing across a tree into a neighbouring enclosure and attacking a wild boar at Whipsnade Zoo in Dunstable.

The zoo said it had no choice but to kill the pair as they posed an 'immediate threat to human life'.

The zoo's chief curator Malcolm Fitzpatrick said: "As brown bears are strong and dangerous predators, our first priority is safety.

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The three brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Credit: South Beds News Agency
The three brown bears at Whipsnade Zoo: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. Credit: South Beds News Agency

"We must quickly make decisions informed by our experience and expertise to protect our people, guests and our other animals."

Fitzpatrick went on to say they decided against the use of tranquilizers as they can take up to 20 minutes to work, 'during which time the animals can become unpredictable and aggressive as adrenaline is coursing through them'.

He added: "We had to intervene immediately to ensure the bears didn't get out of the boar enclosure, which has a low fence."

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A full investigation into the incident will now be launched.

Fitzpatrick added: "As zookeepers and animal carers, this situation is something we train to deal with through regular, rigorous drills - but one that we always hope we'll never have to face.

"I'm devastated by the outcome of this morning's incident, but I'm confident that our actions prevented any further loss of life.

Credit: South Beds News Agency
Credit: South Beds News Agency
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"Our experienced zookeepers, who were on the scene within minutes, promptly assessed the situation and agreed the only option was to euthanise the bears.

"No one wants to be the one to make that call, but when there's an immediate threat to human life, the decision is made for you. The colleagues involved today have experienced the dreadful situation that every vet and keeper thoroughly trains for, but hopes will never come to pass.

"I ask you to support them in the coming weeks as they come to terms with today's events."

The boar was treated by a vet and is currently under observation.

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The third bear at Whipsnade, Cinderella, did not leave the enclosure and was called to an indoor den and secured by zoo staff.

Featured Image Credit: South Beds News Agency

Topics: UK News, Animals

Claire Reid
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