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A private zoo in Alberta, Canada, is facing charges for taking a bear outside the facility without permission from local authorities.
Earlier this year, Discovery Wildlife Park released a video of the bear outing. It showed Berkley, a one-year-old Kodiak [KOH-dee-ak] bear, sitting in a pick-up truck’s passenger seat. While leaning out of the truck’s window, Berkley was being hand-fed an ice cream at a local Dairy Queen drive-thru.
After the video went viral, the zoo received criticism because of the potential danger that Berkley might have caused while outside the facility.
Park officials responded by saying that they did not intend to cause harm. Zoo owner Doug Bos further explained that the video’s purpose was to promote public safety by showing what should and should not be done near wild bears. Discovery Wildlife Park employees also claimed that the filming did not pose any danger as it was done before Dairy Queen’s opening time. Berkley was also chained during the entire trip.
Despite this, Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement pointed out that the charges stemmed from the zoo’s negligence to seek the consent of the Alberta government before taking the bear out for a trip.
Currently, the zoo is facing another similar charge. In 2017, the zoo also failed to notify officials that Berkley was being bottle-fed outside the facility every night. Bos is taking accountability for both instances and is planning to plead guilty.
Because of these charges, the zoo’s permit was amended. It is now required to give more details when taking animals out and to keep animals caged when in transit.