Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bear that escaped zoo finally captured

St. Catharines Standard Local News - Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A bear that had escaped a zoo in Stevensville has been captured and sedated near the corner of Fox and Ott roads in Fort Erie, police said Wednesday afternoon.

Police had been searching Stevensville by land and by air today in hopes of capturing the bear that escaped from the ZooZ animal zoo in overnight.

There's no official word on how the animal escaped although ZooZ officials said they were notified by a Stevensville resident who spotted the bear in town just before midnight.

The animal is about 136-kg and is a six-year-old Syrian brown bear.

The bear, named Willy, was born in captivity and has been at ZooZ for about five years.

Although the bear is accustomed to people, and has been described as "well-tempered" ZooZ officials note the animal is not used to direct interaction with people because visitors to the park are not allowed to feed or touch the animals.

Earlier Wednesday, Marianne Tykolis-Casey, one of the owners of ZooZ said, “We want our little Willy to come home, but our number one priority is the safety of the community.”

Police and other experts searched an ever-expanding area and a helicopter from the Niagara County Sheriff's office in nearby New York State was also been flying just above the tree tops in the largely rural area to try to locate the bear.

Residents were warned not approach the bear.

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