I don’t know about you, but I think that owning a zoo sounds like a lot of fun.
While most of us don’t have to look far outside our browser tabs (or even your cubicle, depending on how much you hate your job) to see a bunch of animals while at work, but when you’re at a zoo, pretty much all your employees are furry, feathery or scaly, and if you can get used to the smells, each and every day is nothing like the 24 hours that preceded it.
However, that doesn’t mean that as a zoo owner, you don’t want to shake things up once in a while. At your regular desk job, injecting something new into your routine often means taking a new commute or going somewhere different for lunch. But what do you do when you own a zoo; take one of the animals out for ice cream?!
If you’re Doug Bos, owner of the Discovery Wildlife Park located in Alberta, Canada, then the answer to that (apparently not rhetorical) question is “yes”. But this animal joyride didn’t quite have the happy ending it perhaps deserved.
Picture, if you will, the average day at a fast food drive-thru. Let’s say a Dairy Queen. For the most part, it’s pretty straightforward; you hand hungry people food, ice cream cones or the delicious Blizzard, the trademark of the fabled ice creamery.
But I’d imagine during your travails at Dairy Queen, it would be very a rare occurrence indeed that you’d open the drive-thru window to hand somebody an ice-cream cone, and come face-to-snout with a Kodiak bear. This is exactly what happened to one (presumably terrified) Dairy Queen employee, whose first (and most memorable) task that day was to feed ice cream to one-year-old Berkeley, a resident at Discovery Wildlife Park.
This all took place before the Dairy Queen opened for business (I’d imagine the lunch rush is un-bear-able), so nobody was ever in any danger, but after a video of the impromptu adventure went viral, Discovery faced intense criticism, and drew the attention of wildlife officials in Alberta, who were less than pleased to say the least. Oops.
“Under the terms and conditions of the zoo’s permit, the charges are directly related to the alleged failure of the park to notify the provincial government prior to the bear leaving the zoo.”
Yeah, while it’s true that the bear was restrained and that the public weren’t really in any danger of a bear rampage, it’s pretty ill-advised to take a live bear out for a joyride without letting local officials know. It’s the kind of thing that’ll start a panic, if you’re not careful. Bos isn’t about to fight this, however; in a statement to the Guardian, he apologized, and admitted he made a “mistake” by taking Berkeley out for ice cream.
“We made a mistake. I’m embarrassed about it, every time we take an animal off the property, we’re supposed to notify [Alberta] Fish and Wildlife, send them an email, and we forgot to do that in both instances.”
He did argue that his bears are well-trained, saying that Kodiak and the rest of his buddies “wandered up and down the aisles” for TV commercials.
“These bears aren’t just your average bear that we go snag out of the wild and do this,” he added, but in future, Discovery Wildlife will have to give more information when requesting animal transport, and Doug Bos will be forced to significantly curb the bear outings, keeping Berkeley and other animals in a cage, crate or kennel during transport.
You know, stripping privileges down to the bear necessities.