Toddler bitten by bear was in unauthorized area: Greater Vancouver Zoo

Aug 8 2019, 11:43 am

The Greater Vancouver Zoo has released an official statement several days after a two-year-old girl was bitten during a visit — and says the youngster was somewhere she wasn’t allowed to be.

On Monday, August 5, the toddler was bitten and injured by a black bear that was held in captivity at the zoo.

BC Emergency Health Services were notified just before 7 pm and the girl was airlifted to the hospital in serious condition.

The BC Conservation Officer Service and the RCMP were on scene later that day to investigate.

Now, several days after the initial incident, the Greater Vancouver Zoo has released an official statement. Most notably, the zoo says that the “child was in an area that is not authorized for public access” and that the investigation is ongoing.

“Let us first start by saying our primary concern is with the injured child and family at this time. The team at the zoo are deeply shocked and saddened by the accident that occurred yesterday and we are working on all fronts to gather all the information with all parties involved.

The Greater Vancouver Zoo adheres to the safety standards put forth by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all patrons and our animals. Barriers are purposefully put in place to maintain a safe distance between patrons and our animals. We can confirm that the incident occurred at our black bear enclosure and that the child was bitten by one of the bears while the child was in an area that is not authorized for public access. This is an active investigation on our end to confirm all details, and ensure the safety of all our guests, staff and animals.”

Murray Smith, Inspector for the Conservation Officer Service for the Lower Mainland says that the black bear enclosure at the zoo has been closed until further notice.

The animal involved in the incident will not be euthanized.