Andean bear escapes Saint Louis Zoo enclosure

Andean bear at the Saint Louis Zoo
Andean bear at the Saint Louis Zoo(Saint Louis Zoo)
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 5:06 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Tuesday was an unusual morning for the staff at the Saint Louis Zoo after an Andean bear was discovered outside of his enclosure in the Rivers Edge

The 300 lbs. bear named Ben was found outside of his enclosure at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. It took staff members 90 minutes to sedate the bear and get it back into an indoor holding area.

Billy Brennan, Director of Public Relations at the Saint Louis Zoo, told News 4 it was a challenge to get the bear sedated because he was in a heavily wooded area and it was difficult getting a clear tranquilizer shot. He said the bear was medically checked out and is doing fine.

The Zoo doesn’t open to the public until 10 a.m., so no one was in danger, however, the incident forced the zoo to cancel its preschool classes because those students start showing up at 8:30 a.m.

According to Brennan, the bear was meddling with his steel mesh enclosure and caused one of the steel cables to break, creating a small hole for the bear to climb through. Now, the zoo is in the process of inspecting that habitat and other habitats that have a similar steel mesh enclosure to ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Zoo officials said this type of incident is extremely rare.