The expression “not your average bear” may apply to more than adorable cartoon bears with fedoras and neckties. It just might apply better to Ben, A 4-year-old Andean bear at the Saint Louis Zoo. Ben has been having quite a month, as he escaped his enclosure and went on an adventure on February 7th before being captured and returned. Apparently, Ben outsmarted zoo officials and went on another adventure on the 23rd. No word on whether there were picnic baskets involved. Check this out.
“Around 1 o’clock today, Ben once again got out of his outdoor habitat. The Zoo Animal Emergency Response protocol was implemented and various team members responded accordingly,”
“Guests and staff on grounds were quickly escorted into various indoor facilities while team members secured Ben, which took approximately 50 minutes from start to finish.”
An Andean bear escaped his enclosure at the St. Louis Zoo on Thursday, marking the second time this month the animal has broken out of his habitat. https://t.co/njkBzKAbVz
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 24, 2023
Considering how wily Ben is, I wouldn’t have felt necessarily secure indoors either. This crafty fella has managed to make a monkey out of the St. Louis Zoo twice in a month. It is unclear how they captured Ben. Perhaps tranquilizer darts? Maybe a brave team member in a female bear suit? Or a male bear suit. No judgement here big guy.
Zoo officials say Ben is the rare type of bear who has been able to sneak away.
“The habitat we’ve had since 2016, we have not had a bear escape from that habitat ever,” zoo director Michael Macek told St. Louis NBC affiliate KSDK. “He’s just very curious.”
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“It’s important that we let you know that we have reviewed the evidence available from yesterday morning and we have no reason to believe that there was any human fault or tampering that led to the bear’s escape out of its outdoor habitat,” the zoo said in a statement at the time.
“Instead, it would appear that the very curious bear meddled with the steel mesh in just the right spot of the outdoor habitat, causing a cable to give way, which then allowed the bear to work his way out.”
Considering the Zoo apparently has the “Alcatraz” of bear enclosures, it is all the more remarkable that Ben was able to work himself free. Zoo officials cite his curious nature, but perhaps considering he seems to be pretty smart perhaps he finally realized he was living in St. Louis and tried to make a break for it? No offense to St. Louis, or Missouri for that matter, but if you had the choice and could jimmy loose your enclosure, would you stay in St. Louis? Fair question.
Thankfully Ben was returned safely, without any harm to him or zoo employees. Maybe the zoo should invest in new locks for his enclosure or stop hanging the key right outside the fence like the Mayberry jail on the Andy Griffith Show. Whatever it takes to secure the big fella. The last thing St. Louis needs is for the zoo to have a need to put Ben down. Imagine the “bear lives matters” protests that would take place. It would make Harambe-gate look like child’s play. Stay curious, Ben, but just stay where we can see you.