UPDATE: Bear will not be euthanized after biting toddler at Aldergrove zoo

UPDATE: Bear will not be euthanized after biting toddler at Aldergrove zoo

On Monday at around 7 p.m. emergency services were called to the Aldergrove scene

The black bear that bit a toddler at the Greater Vancouver Zoo Monday night will not be euthanized, the B.C. Conservation Officers Service confirmed Tuesday.

In a statement, Insp. Murray Smith said a black bear bit the two-year-old girl’s arm, after which the bear enclosure at the zoo in Aldergrove was shut down and the child and her mother taken to hospital.

The mother and her two-year-old daughter, Sophia, were celebrating B.C. Day with a trip amongst the zoo when something went terribly wrong.

Sophia has since been transferred to BC Children’s Hospital, confirmed Langley RCMP Cpl. Kurt Neuman. The child is in stable condition but still has a recovery ahead of her, according to the Canadian Press.

The zoo issued a statement early Tuesday afternoon that said the zoo’s primary concern has been with the injured child and family.

Sophia’s family declined to comment on the matter.

The 21-acre “happy place” that Menita Prasad has worked at for 15 years as an animal care manager, is different today.

In all of her time working there “I’ve never experienced anything like this,” Prasad admitted during a press conference Tuesday on zoo property.

“The team at the zoo are deeply shocked and saddened by the accident that occurred yesterday and we are working on all fronts to gather all the information with all parties involved,” Prasad said.

“We can confirm that the incident occurred at our black bear enclosure and that the child was bitten by one of the bears while the child was in an area that is not authorized for public access,” Prasad stated.

In the far southeast corner of acreage of the zoo, three orphaned black bear cubs live in the enclosure, which has been cordoned off while police and B.C. Conservation Officer Services conducted investigations.

As of Monday afternoon, the area was still off limits to the public.

Greater Vancouver Zoo's animal care manager Menita Prasad gives an update on yesterday’s incident in which a black bear bit a two-year-old girl. Story: https://www.aldergrovestar.com/news/2-year-old-airlifted-to-hospital-from-zoo-after-alleged-bear-bite/

Posted by Aldergrove Star on Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The distance between the first gate and the black bear enclosure, where the toddler was bitten, “ranges from four to five feet” between the barrier closest to the public and the enclosure, Prasad explained.

The gates are a combination of chain-link and wooden fencing.

“The distance is meant to be more than an average person’s arms reach,” Prasad elaborated.

Even zoo workers do not maintain close contact with any of the zoo’s “large exotics,” including its 2-year-old black bears.

“We recognize that there is always room for improvement,” Prasad stated.

“If there are areas for improvement then yes we [the zoo] will make the necessary changes.”

As well, the statement said Greater Vancouver Zoo adheres to the safety standards put forth by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) to ensure the safety and well-being of all patrons and our animals.

Noting that though acccidents can happen anywhere, Prasad tells parents at the zoo to “be safe.”

READ MORE: Greater Vancouver Zoo takes in black bear siblings

Visitors to the zoo were surprised to hear the news. Jennifer Bauer came up from Bellingham with her daughter Emma on Tuesday morning.

“It’s terrifying “ she commented. Bauer said the incident underlines the need for parents to keep a close eye on their children.

She also expressed concern about the bear being put down.

“I would be kind of sad.”

Aldergrove resident Devoni Wennerstrom, who was there with her three children, was puzzled that the child was able to get that close.

“There are two sets of fences,” Devoni related.

“We tell our children to stay away from the farthest fence – it’s just common sense.”

RCMP are in the midst of conducting an investigation on the matter, as well as B.C. Conservation Officers Service (BCCOS), said Neuman.

[Story continues below Tweet]

Police met with BCCOS promtly on Tuesday afternoon to determine “if a criminal investigation is warranted,” added Langley RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Craig van Herk.

Currently, the zoo has one grizzly bear and five black bears on its 21-acre property at 5048 264 St. in Aldergrove.

The zoo was open during its usual hours Tuesday.

_________________________________

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

UPDATE: Bear will not be euthanized after biting toddler at Aldergrove zoo

Conservation Officers Services lined up outside of the zoo Tuesday morning. Police will meet with them to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted. (Dan Ferguson photo)

Conservation Officers Services lined up outside of the zoo Tuesday morning. Police will meet with them to determine if a criminal investigation is warranted. (Dan Ferguson photo)

Conservation Officers have been on scene at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove as part of the investigation into a toddler being injured by a bear. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Conservation Officers have been on scene at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove as part of the investigation into a toddler being injured by a bear. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Conservation Officers have been on scene at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove as part of the investigation into a toddler being injured by a bear. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Conservation Officers have been on scene at the Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove as part of the investigation into a toddler being injured by a bear. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

UPDATE: Bear will not be euthanized after biting toddler at Aldergrove zoo

UPDATE: Bear will not be euthanized after biting toddler at Aldergrove zoo

A Langley Times Advance reader sent in this picture of the bear fence at the zoo, taken two days ago, arguing it was misleading to say that there were two fences because one fence was actually a gate.

A Langley Times Advance reader sent in this picture of the bear fence at the zoo, taken two days ago, arguing it was misleading to say that there were two fences because one fence was actually a gate.

Just Posted

The RCMP was called to a condo complex in Langley City in the early hours of Jan. 18, 2021, for a shooting. (Shane Mackichan/Special to the Langley Advance Times)
Our View: Too many shootings as gang war continues

We need to ask what more we could be doing to stop the endless gang wars

A lawsuit over three stormwater floods of a building over the past year has been launched against Langley City. (Langley Advance Times file)
Flooded apartment building sparks lawsuit against Langley City

A downtown landlord claims a lack of storm sewer upgrades is negligence

Abbotsford’s Willow Video location will be closing at the end of the month. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Abbotsford’s Willow Video closing

Video game, movie retailer closing up shop after more than 20 years

Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice-president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, speaks at a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa, on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
B.C. records 500 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 14 deaths

Outbreak at Surrey Pretrial jail, two more in health care

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Eighteen-year-old Aidan Webber died in a marine accident in 2019. He was a Canadian Junior BMX champion from Nanaimo. (Submitted)
Inadequate safety training a factor in teen BMX star’s workplace death in 2019

Aidan Webber was crushed by a barge at a fish farm near Port Hardy

Southern resident killer whales in B.C. waters. Research shows the population’s females are more negatively influenced by vessel traffic than males. (Photo supplied by Ocean Wise Conservation Association)
Female orcas less likely to feed in presence of vessel traffic: study

Research the southern resident population raises concerns over reproduction capacity

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Black Press Media files)
Transport Canada not budging on enclosed deck rules, despite calls from BC Ferries union

There have been at least 23 cases of the U.K. variant detected in Canada, four of which are in B.C.

The Elk Valley Hospital is adapting to meet the needs of patients in the Elk Valley.
1-in-5 COVID tests coming back positive in and around Fernie, sparking concern

Dr Ron Clark of Elk Valley Hospital said one in five tests was returning positive for COVID-19

Ralliers gather in front of the Cityviews Village apartment building in Maple Ridge to protest attempts to evict low-income tenants by the building owner. (Ronan O’Doherty - The News)
Tenants protest pressure tactics by new landlord at Maple Ridge apartment building

Protest held in front of Cityviews Village on 223 St. Tuesday to rally against low-income evictions

Throughout December, RCMP conducted CounterAttack road checks as police worked to keep roads free of impaired drivers. (BLACK PRESS file photo)
‘You can’t make this stuff up’: Stories from the B.C. CounterAttack campaign

Amusing, yes, but a reminder impaired driving affects ability to drive and to make good decisions

Most Read