2 polar bears tranquilized after exhibit breakout - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

2 polar bears tranquilized after exhibit breakout

There was never a risk to staff or visitors in the park, according to communications director Michelle Curley. (FOX19 NOW Photo/Mike Schell) There was never a risk to staff or visitors in the park, according to communications director Michelle Curley. (FOX19 NOW Photo/Mike Schell)
Berit the polar bear (Photo: Blog.cincinnatizoo.org) Berit the polar bear (Photo: Blog.cincinnatizoo.org)
Zoo guests posted on social media that they were housed inside some of the animal exhibits (Photo: Twitter/@HeyImKevinSully) Zoo guests posted on social media that they were housed inside some of the animal exhibits (Photo: Twitter/@HeyImKevinSully)
Berit the polar bear (Photo: Blog.cincinnatizoo.org) Berit the polar bear (Photo: Blog.cincinnatizoo.org)
CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) -

The Cincinnati Zoo closed for several hours Wednesday after two polar bears wandered out of an exhibit. 

"Little One" and "Berit" took advantage of an open door around 11:30 a.m., according to zoo spokesperson Michelle Curry. The male and female pair were tranquilized after keps found them in the back hallway behind their exhibit area.

"The bears entered an inappropriate area but did not leave the building and the public was never at risk,” said Zoo Director Thane Maynard.  

[Berit's Big Day Off: Social Media 'spots' the polar bear around Cincy ]

As a precaution, guests were moved indoors or asked to leave. Visitors were allowed back in around 1:30 p.m.

"Zoo staff followed protocols that we have in place and were able to safely return the bears to their primary holding area in under two hours," said Maynard. 

The bears ended up in what zoo officials described as a "behind the scenes" area with extra security features. 

"Even if it's in a back area, it is very secure and locked in," Maynard said of the exhibit area. 

According to the Cincinnati Zoo's blog, 17-year-old Berit is the first polar bear to ever undergo infertility treatments. Littler One is Berit's 26-year-old mate. They should be back on exhibit as early as this Friday, Curley says.

For some living in the neighborhood near the zoo, the incident stirred up quite a concern.

"You never know.  You could come home and there's an animal in your front yard, and you've got to call the zoo, 'Hey, I think you're missing someone,’” said Kristen Elia who lives nearby.
The bears did not make it to anyone’s front yard.  In fact, they never made it out of the zoo, only escaping into a “behind-the-scenes service hallway” area.  Elia says she’s a little frightened, especially because she lives right across the street from the zoo. 

"Sometimes in the morning I'll wake up and I'll actually hear them - the monkeys exhibit.  Sometimes they're kind of squawking,” Elia told FOX19 NOW.  

She hopes that, as long as she lives a stone’s throw from the zoo, this never happens again.

"If it happened once, that's probably the only time that it's going to happen while I'm living here, at least,” Elia said.  "I really like living this close to the zoo.  It's really convenient.  But, I guess you would never think about an animal getting out."

Copyright 2016 WXIX. All rights reserved.  

  • FOX19 HeadlinesMore>>

  • Saudi women take the wheel as longstanding driving ban ends

    Saudi women take the wheel as longstanding driving ban ends

    Sunday, June 24 2018 4:24 AM EDT2018-06-24 08:24:57 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:37 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:37:50 GMT
    (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty). Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their countr...(AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty). Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their countr...

    Saudi women steered their way through busy streets for the first time just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted.

    Full Story >

    Saudi women steered their way through busy streets for the first time just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted.

    Full Story >
  • Police: Helmets 'not in-use' in motorcycle crash that killed woman

    Police: Helmets 'not in-use' in motorcycle crash that killed woman

    Sunday, June 24 2018 12:36 PM EDT2018-06-24 16:36:15 GMT
    A motorcycle crash claimed the life of Brittany Cash, 19, late Saturday night in Batavia Township. Neither she, nor the driver of the bike were wearing a helmet (Raycom Media/file)A motorcycle crash claimed the life of Brittany Cash, 19, late Saturday night in Batavia Township. Neither she, nor the driver of the bike were wearing a helmet (Raycom Media/file)
    A motorcycle crash claimed the life of Brittany Cash, 19, late Saturday night in Batavia Township. Neither she, nor the driver of the bike were wearing a helmet (Raycom Media/file)A motorcycle crash claimed the life of Brittany Cash, 19, late Saturday night in Batavia Township. Neither she, nor the driver of the bike were wearing a helmet (Raycom Media/file)

    A woman is dead and a man is in serious condition after a motorcycle crash in Batavia Township late Saturday night, the Batavia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says.

    Full Story >

    A woman is dead and a man is in serious condition after a motorcycle crash in Batavia Township late Saturday night, the Batavia Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol says.

    Full Story >
  • Transgender woman says she was harassed over restroom at restaurant

    Transgender woman says she was harassed over restroom at restaurant

    Sunday, June 24 2018 11:05 AM EDT2018-06-24 15:05:26 GMT
    Sunday, June 24 2018 11:17 AM EDT2018-06-24 15:17:54 GMT
    After washing her hands Clymer says the attendant and manager said it was DC law that a person must only use the restroom that matches with the gender on their identification card. (Source: WJLA/CNN)After washing her hands Clymer says the attendant and manager said it was DC law that a person must only use the restroom that matches with the gender on their identification card. (Source: WJLA/CNN)

    After washing her hands Clymer says the attendant and manager said it was DC law that a person must only use the restroom that matches with the gender on their identification card

    Full Story >

    After washing her hands Clymer says the attendant and manager said it was DC law that a person must only use the restroom that matches with the gender on their identification card

    Full Story >
Powered by Frankly