The decision was made to euthanize the bears because there was “an immediate threat to human life,” said the zoo’s chief curator, Malcolm Fitzpatrick, in an email to staff.
“As brown bears are strong and dangerous predators, our first priority is safety — we must quickly make decisions informed by our experience and expertise to protect our people, guests and our other animals,” Fitzpatrick said.
Zookeepers were on the scene in minutes, but could not simply tranquilize the bears because they would remain “unpredictable and aggressive” for at least 20 minutes, added Fitzpatrick.
He said he was “devastated,” but that the zookeepers actions “prevented any further loss of life.”
There will be an investigation into the incident and vets examined the injured boar. A third bear named Cinderella stayed in the enclosure and is unhurt.
“As zookeepers and animal carers, this situation is something we train to deal with through regular, rigorous drills — but one that we always hope we’ll never have to face,” said Fitzpatrick.