Columbus Zoo says preparation kept people, cub safe after escape

Courtesy of Derek Guenther

POWELL, OH (WCMH) — The black bear habitat at the Columbus Zoo remained closed Monday after a cub escaped the enclosure Saturday morning.

“One of the bears decided she was going to test the barriers and unfortunately was successful getting over the fence,” said Doug Warmolts with the Columbus Zoo.

The Zoo said it will stay closed until further notice as it evaluates the safety of the exhibit for the bears and public, but, that visitors were never in danger.

“We have an emergency response plan in place at the zoo,” said Warmolts. “Our response plan went perfectly.”

The 7-month-old cub managed to scale a 12-foot fence before she was tranquilized. Keepers saw the entire thing as the animal made it out in just seconds.

“She’s a young bear, that’s something to keep in mind. This is a juvenile, so their abilities when they’re that age are going to be more then the adults; they’re lighter, they’re more agile,” said Warmolts.

The Zoo said it does exercises all year long and that it was prepared for what happened.

Most parents we spoke with said they didn’t think twice about bringing their kids on Monday.

“They took care of it, I feel safe, I’m not worried!” said one mom.

“With everything going on we were kind of like oh my gosh that’s a little bit crazy, but they wanted to go see the baby polar bear so we figured they wouldn’t get out!” said Brooke Baker, a mom of two from Westerville.

The Zoo said the cub is just fine.

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