When will humans ever learn? Did the Harambe tragedy teach us nothing about how to handle wild animals? Apparently not, because this week yet another zoo has come under fire for some questionable activity with animals.
Back in January of this year, Discovery Wildlife Park in Alberta, Canada decided that it’d be a good idea to take a one-year-old bear for a ride to the local Dairy Queen drive-thru for an ice cream.
However, this wasn’t the most alarming part of their disastrous plan, because in order to get the Kodiak bear to the restaurant they strapped it into the front seat of a pickup truck like an oversized child.
The aim? To boost their social media presence online – something which they have achieved, for all the wrong reasons.
Watch the full video for yourself and decide whether you think it’s cruel or kind of cute…
Understandably, the video caused a great deal of controversy. Many found the stunt sickening given that the bear didn’t have a choice in the matter and even though it appears to be enjoying its sweet snack, it is a well-known fact that Kodiak bears, which are native to Alaska, aren’t big connoisseurs of ice cream – or drive-thrus.
Defending the video, Doug Bos, the zoo’s owner explained: “The message was: Don’t feed the bears. Don’t stop on the side of the road. If everybody would listen to the video, that’s what the message was — don’t do this.”
But that message was lost on those who viewed the video and found it irresponsible and dangerous. In response to the backlash, the zoo removed the video, but their troubles didn’t end there.
On January 16, just a week after the initial ice cream incident, a video of the same bear licking frosting off of a birthday cake was uploaded online.
Both of these clips prompted Alberta Environment and Parks, which regulates the zoo’s activity, to intervene and investigate.
As a result, wildlife officers have now been charged the zoo with one offense relating to the ice cream incident and another relating to an occasion where they took the bear off-site without informing the relevant department at Alberta Environment and Parks.
Doug Bos and his business partner, Debbie Rowland are due to appear in court on May 28, where they plan to plead guilty to the charges against them.
“What we got charged for under the act was that we failed to notify them that we were going to do those things,” Bos told The Canadian Press in an interview Tuesday. “We were busy. We made a mistake and we didn’t email them and tell them.”
Hopefully, this incident will raise awareness for the correct treatment of wild animals, especially bears which have an unpredictable nature and could cause harm to the public if not handled in the right manner.