Brown bear put down following the death of the Alaska Zoo’s 16-year-old alpaca Caesar
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Wildlife officials with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game have put down a brown bear after it killed an alpaca at the Alaska Zoo.
According to the zoo, the bear broke through a section of the zoo’s perimeter fence Saturday night and entered its grounds, resulting in the death of the zoo’s 16-year-old alpaca Caesar.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of both a wild bear and Caesar the alpaca. We care deeply about all animals and feel saddened by the deaths on both sides of the situation. We take this as a reminder that our city of Anchorage is indeed bear country. Wild bears are still active, gathering food and resources before their winter’s sleep. We ask the public to stay vigilant with bear safety protocols in neighborhoods by securing trash and other attractants.” said zoo director Patrick Lampi in a statement.
Caesar’s companion, an alpaca known as Fuzzy Charlie, was able to escape the attack. Lampi said the zoo will actively look for a new alpaca so that Fuzzy Charlie will have another companion.
The zoo said the bear was making frequent night visits to the area, flipping dumpsters in order to break bear-resistant mechanisms and access trash.
Wildlife officials had already determined that the bear posed a significant risk to public safety and were attempting to find the bear to remove it before the attack.
“This time of year we frequently have a surge in bear activity as bears enter hyperphagia, a period of excessive eating meant to fatten them up just before they go into the den so they can survive the winter," said Anchorage area biologist Dave Battle in a statement. "During this time, bears feel a need to eat as much as they can, so they attempt to exploit every food source they can. That often includes human-provided food sources like trash and birdfeeders. It’s very important that residents continue to secure all attractants so that bears can’t access them.”
Moving forward, the zoo said it will continue to monitor perimeter fences.
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