Staff at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens fatally shot an American black bear after the animal escaped its exhibit and “engaged with a zookeeper behind the scenes.” The bear’s name was Johnny, and he was 5 years old.
Officials said in a Facebook post that the zoo’s lethal weapons team responded to an emergency radio call about the incident, which occurred at around 5:10 p.m. on Wednesday. Zoo officials said: “Our highest priority is always the safety of human lives, therefore, the bear was shot and killed.” The zookeeper was attacked and taken to the hospital by Jacksonville Fire Rescue. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Zoo officials said that an ongoing investigation will be conducted over the coming days and weeks, adding that they do not take the incident lightly: “It is profoundly painful when we have a loss of an animal, especially under circumstances such as this.”
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