When a grizzly smashes glass at a zoo with a basketball-sized rock, the incident will undoubtedly make zoo officials take action, and this is exactly what happened at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley on Monday. The zoo is now temporarily closed until workers can place a new bear-proof barrier in front of the broken panel, ABC News reports.
In a statement regarding the matter, the zoo’s director of animal collections, Tony Fisher, attempted to explain the unusual incident.
“One of the bears had a rock about the size of a basketball and managed to break one of the windows. At no time was there any danger of the bears getting out since there were still four layers of glass, but we’re not going to trust it.”
According to a report from the Star Tribune, a large grizzly bear somehow picked up a massive rock with both front paws, after digging it out of the ground, and proceeded to bash it into a pane of glass. Onlookers watched in horror as the glass was shattered.
Robin Ficker, who witnessed the incident, described the chaotic scene to MPR News.
“The three bears, they were cavorting in the pool and wrestling and fighting,” Flicker explained, “and then all of the sudden one of these huge half ton bears picked up a very large rock — I would say it was at least 50 pounds — and did a chest pass, just like Wes Unseld used to to do, right into the glass.”
Ficker went on to say that he has witnessed bears throw rocks before, but none that size.
“I’ve seen bears throw logs, sticks and balls before. Here, for the first time, I saw a bear throw a big rock. The bear, I would say, was about 3 feet from the glass. It was just a short distance. But it was a very strong bear and a very large rock. And the first time he threw it, it cracked. And then he kept throwing it. I thought those bears are coming out of here.”
Ficker also claims that he didn’t see anyone do anything to provoke the bear, nor did he engage in heckling the animals.
“No, I was not heckling these bears,” he said. “I was not ‘giving them therapy,’ as I like to call it. I was enthralled watching them in the pool wrestling and trying to bite each other. These were healthy, young, strong bears. These were not the typical zoo bears that you see sitting in one spot. I was really enjoying watching them.”
A temporary barrier will be constructed in order to secure the bears, Fisher explained, but it will most likely take several weeks until the custom-made glass is replaced.
“We’ll probably install another barrier in front of that glass panel… that is bear proof. But it will just be in front of the broken glass so that we can get the bears back on exhibit and get people back enjoying the bears once again for the summer.”
The incident brings to mind a similar situation that occurred in April, in which a Nebraska zoo gorilla cracked at a glass and left a family terrified. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, spectators watched in horror as a silverback gorilla cracked the glass at an enclosure after charging towards a little girl who had been mocking the animal.
[Image via YouTube screenshot]