Wild Bear Breaks Into Zoo, Kills Alpaca

A wild bear was killed by wildlife officials in Anchorage after the animal broke into the Alaska Zoo on multiple occasions, one of which led to the death of a "beloved" alpaca at the zoo.

"An adult male brown bear that had been accessing trash in South Anchorage and making recent visits to the zoo at night was killed by wildlife officials after a recent incursion inside the zoo's grounds resulted in the death of beloved 16-year-old alpaca Caesar," the Alaska Zoo confirmed in a statement Wednesday.

The bear was reported to have been "flipping dumpsters in order to break bear-resistant mechanisms and access trash," on several nocturnal visits to the area, the statement described.

It managed to enter the zoo on Saturday by breaking through a section of the perimeter fence of the zoo, which resulted in "the death of beloved 16-year-old alpaca Caesar," the statement noted.

"While Caesar did unfortunately pass away during this incident, his companion alpaca/llama Fuzzy Charlie Kozak appears to be in good condition and was able to escape the attack, later found by staff within the zoo's grounds and secured," the statement said.

The bear was deemed to pose a "significant risk to public safety" by wildlife officials from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who had been attempting to locate the animal to remove it from the area prior to the break-in at the zoo, the statement noted.

Dave Battle, the department's Anchorage area biologist, said: "It usually takes a decent-sized brown bear to flip some of these dumpsters. Typically when brown bears start accessing trash, that becomes an elevated public safety threat."

Zoo officials are deeply saddened to announce the passing of 16-year-old alpaca Caesar as well as a wild brown bear euthanized by wildlife officials after entering the zoo at night, resulting in Caesar's death. https://t.co/tFke2f3eiR pic.twitter.com/VbJKSQIGtX

— The Alaska Zoo (@AlaskaZoo) September 23, 2020

The bear was also known for other activity in the surrounding neighborhoods, according to biologists, the statement confirmed.

The bear's entry point has been located and reinforced since the incident.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of both a wild bear and Caesar the alpaca. We care deeply about all animals and feel saddened by the deaths on both sides of the situation," the executive director of the Alaska Zoo, Patrick Lampi, said in a statement.

"We take this as a reminder that our city of Anchorage is indeed bear country. Wild bears are still active, gathering food and resources before their winter's sleep. We ask the public to stay vigilant with bear safety protocols in neighborhoods by securing trash and other attractants," he added.

Earlier this month, backpackers walking through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which straddles the Tennessee and North Carolina border, were horrified to discover a black bear eating the remains of a human near a campsite.

Brown bear Alaska Katmai National Park
A brown bear seen at Katmai National Park on August 14 in King Salmon, Alaska. A brown bear in Anchorage was killed by wildlife officials after it broke into the Alaska Zoo and killed an alpaca. Abbie Parr/Getty Images