A Zoo Owner Brought a Bear to Dairy Queen and Now Faces Charges

May 11, 2018

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After taking a young Kodiak bear out to the local Dairy Queen for ice cream, a zoo in Canada is under fire from wildlife officials.

Discovery Wildlife Park —  a private zoo in Innisfail, Alberta that houses orphaned animals — has been charged with “failing to notify the provincial government prior to the bear leaving the zoo,” explained a statement from Alberta Fish and Wildlife.

According to the Guardian, news of Berkley the bear’s field trip first emerged in January, after the zoo posted a video on Twitter. The footage depicts the bear sitting in the passenger seat of a truck, licking an ice cream cone at the Dairy Queen’s drive-through window.

At the time, zoo owner Doug Bos informed CBC News that the video was meant to be “about safety.”

“Now that we have your attention, Berkley would like to share some bear facts with you,” the video’s narrator says.

Yet the footage casually depicts a one-year-old bear, apparently restrained by a chain, happily eating ice cream from the Dairy Queen owner’s hands.

Now that the charges have been issued (there is a second count related to another instance, back in 2017, when Berkley was removed without informing officials), Bos has revealed his plans to plead guilty.

“We made a mistake. I’m embarrassed about it,” Bos told the Guardian, explaining that they “forgot” to request permission in advance of the ice cream field trip.

The resurfacing of this video also raises a number of concerns about the park’s treatment of animals and its seemingly flippant disregard for safety.

Bos, however, insists that wildlife officials are concerned specifically about communication oversight, and not necessarily troubled by Berkley’s outing, in general — or the sugary order.

via GIPHY

In January, Head Zookeeper Serena Bos told CBC News that Berkley’s ice cream trip took place before the Dairy Queen opened. “There was never any public present,” she explained.

She also insisted that the ice cream cake (because after the ice cream cone, a special ice cream cake for Berkley’s birthday followed) would not be detrimental to the bear’s health.

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