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OFFBEAT

Canadian zoo officials charged for taking a bear out to get ice cream

A Canadian zoo has been fined after taking a bear out to get an ice cream cone.

GLENN KOENIG/LOS ANGELES TIMES/TNS

By TERENCE CULLEN | New York Daily News | Published: May 9, 2018

(Tribune News Service) — A Canadian zoo has been fined for not letting wildlife authorities know it was taking a 1-year-old bear to a local Dairy Queen so it could get an ice cream cone.

Discovery Wildlife Park in northern Alberta garnered attention earlier this year when it posted a Facebook video of the baby Kodiak bear, Berkley, being hand fed a vanilla ice cream cone at a drive-thru window.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife wasn’t mad the bear went out for the cone — just that authorities weren’t notified he was going.

“Under the terms and conditions of the zoo’s permit, the charges are directly related to the alleged failure of the park to notify the provincial government prior to the bear leaving the zoo,” the agency said in a statement.

The park has since pulled the video of Berkley devouring the cone from Facebook, and apologized for not properly broadcasting the Dairy Queen run.

Fish and Wildlife cited the zoo as well as owners Doug Bos and Debbie Rowland for violating the terms of its license.

The park insisted the trip wasn’t a safety risk, the Guardian reported, because he was chained to the truck and Dairy Queen wasn’t open to the public at the time, according to the Guardian.

Zoo workers also failed to report the zoo was feeding Berkley with a bottle in 2017 when he was still an orphaned cub and adopted by the park, according to the newspaper.

Zoo leadership indicated in a Facebook post that they were hit with fines, which they intended to pay.

Bos, one of the park’s owners, said to CTV they plan to formally plead guilty in court later this month.

“We were busy, we made a mistake and we didn’t email them and tell them,” he told the news channel Tuesday. “I’m glad that they followed through with it because it shows how strictly regulated the zoo industry is in the province.”

CTV reported the plea also includes stricter rules on the zoo’s license, requiring more details about when an animal is leaving the park for an ice cream run.

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