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Bear recaptured after escaping enclosure at Saint Louis Zoo

A bear named Ben is shown in an enclosure at Saint Louis Zoo.

A bear briefly escaped from his enclosure at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri yesterday.

The zoo posted on social media that on Feb. 7, 2023, a male Andean bear named Ben was discovered outside of his habitat.

Zoo employees responded and about 90 minutes later the bear was secured near his habitat in an area where he was able to be tranquilized. Ben was safely returned to an indoor holding area.

The zoo said the bear's escape was not the result of human error or intentional tampering to let the bear out. The zoo determined the bear meddled with the steel mesh in a portion of the outdoor habitat which caused a cable to give way and allowed him to work his way out.

"Team members will continue to inspect this habitat and make decisions to make it even more secure than it is now," the zoo wrote. "Additionally, team members are looking at any other similar habitats to see if any necessary steps are needed."

The zoo noted the incident occurred outside of operating hours and was resolved before the zoo opened to the public. The bear received a full medical exam following the incident and is reportedly doing fine.

Saint Louis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Ben arrived at the zoo in 2021 from the Andean Bear Species Survival Plan (SSP), which manages a genetic reserve of this species in North America.

The Andean bear is a South American species that is considered vulnerable due to habitat loss and poaching threats, the zoo noted.


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