Bear Escapes Saint Louis Zoo Enclosure Twice In A Month

A spirited bear busted out of his enclosure at a zoo in St. Louis, Missouri, for the second time in a month on Thursday.

Ben, a 4-year-old male Andean bear, broke loose for the first time on Feb. 7, the Saint Louis Zoo said in a news release about the incidents.

Ben the bear in a photo seen in a Saint Louis Zoo news release.
Ben the bear in a photo seen in a Saint Louis Zoo news release.

“Ben got out by meddling with the steel mesh in just the right spot of the outdoor habitat, causing a cable to give way, which then allowed him to work his way out,” the zoo wrote. “Since then, team members made the habitat even more secure by adding stainless steel cargo clips rated at 450 pounds tensile strength, yet that wasn’t enough for Ben.”

On both occasions, zoo staff used tranquilizers to bring Ben back to a secure area. The first time happened before the zoo had opened for the day, 5 On Your Side reported.

On Thursday, zoo visitors were corralled indoors while staff dealt with the bear at large.

“The bear was very calm the whole time we saw him,” Drew Wilson, a zoo visitor who spotted Ben roaming the grounds and reported him to zoo staff, told Fox 2 Now. “Just looked like he was having fun.”

The zoo’s press release noted that Ben is “young and adventurous.”

The facility said it will be consulting with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to figure out “alternative ways to secure the habitat.”

Andean bears, also known as spectacled bears, are native to the cloud forests of South America’s Andes Mountains. The largely vegetarian animals are threatened in the wild by habitat destruction and poaching.

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