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Bear Breaks Into Zoo, Kills Beloved Alpaca

'It was kind of a bizarre incident'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2020 7:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A wild brown bear tunneled under perimeter fencing and killed a popular alpaca at the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage, officials said Wednesday. The bear was killed a day later by wildlife officials. The bear had been hanging around the zoo, knocking over trash bins and breaking bear-proof latches before it got under the fence early Sunday when the facility was closed to the public, the AP reports. "It went through the zoo and killed our older male alpaca, Caesar," executive director Patrick Lampi said. "He was a crowd favorite." He said the 16-year-old alpaca had arrived at the zoo when he was a year old. Caesar's companion, a younger alpaca named Fuzzy Charlie, escaped and was found unharmed.

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Alaska Fish and Game officials helped search the zoo for the bear after it killed Caesar. They used forward-looking infrared scopes, but the bear had left the zoo. "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 to watch for the bear to return. It was killed the second time it came back. Lampi said everyone was sorry the bear had to be put down. "It was kind of a bizarre incident," he said. The zoo is located in near 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."

(Read more Alaska stories.)

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