An Innisfail zoo has been charged by the Province of Alberta after posting a video of Berkley the bear eating ice-cream at a Dairy Queen drive-thru.
Berkley, a new addition to the Discovery Wildlife Park, is shown eating some ice cream at an Innisfail, Alberta Dairy Queen in a video posted to the park’s Facebook page on January 14.
The video was posted to celebrate Berkley’s birthday and to educate viewers on the dangers of stopping vehicles to take pictures of wild bears.
“Not only should we be staying in the vehicles, but we shouldn’t be stopping, because those vehicles all smell amazing, and it’s going to attract the bears to the side of the highway, that’s how we lose so many bears every year,” the video states.
The video was quick to receive backlash, and the Province of Alberta told Daily Hive in an emailed statement that it was investigating the incident.
“Public safety is a top priority for our government. The content of the video in question is very concerning,” the statement read.
“The investigation is ongoing and will determine if the law and/or permit terms and conditions were broken. We will take the needed time to conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation. If non-compliance is found, the appropriate enforcement action will be taken.”
The Discovery Wildlife Park has since been charged under Section 12 (3) of the Wildlife Act, which states:
“A person shall not contravene any of the terms or conditions of a license or permit.”
An April 22 Facebook post from the park states that they erred by failing to notify Fish and Wildlife prior to taking Berkley on the birthday ice-cream trip and that they plan to pay the fine associated with the charges.
“We have been in operation for over 28 years and this is the first time that we have failed to notify Fish & Wildlife before taking an animal off-site,” the Facebook post states.
“The Alberta Zoo Standards fall under the Wildlife Act and are very strict and regulated. We appreciate that Fish and Wildlife follow these high standards to ensure the best care and well-being of the animals in our care.”
The Park also stated that new protocols have been put into place so that the Fish and Wildlife Office will be properly notified in the future.