ALDERGROVE, British Columbia - The family of a little girl says she was bitten by a black bear at Greater Vancouver Zoo in Aldergrove, British Columbia. The incident, involving a 2-year-old, happened Monday, Global News reported.
CTV Vancouver reported that the toddler's father, Richard Hanson, said he got a call from his wife saying their daughter, Sophia, was bitten by a bear. He was in Victoria when the incident happened.
"They were all watching the bears and the next thing you know, you hear the kids screaming, and they ran over and had to, know you, get it to stop biting her," Hanson told CTV News.
According to Hanson, Sophia was attacked by a black bear through a fence. Authorities said the girl managed to get her hand through a fence into the black bear enclosure. She broke her arm and lost a fingertip in the attack. Hanson told CTV News his daughter is in stable condition at BC Children's Hospital. According to the family, Sophia will need multiple surgeries.
Hanson said he is considering legal action.
“We can confirm that the incident occurred at our black bear enclosure and that the child was bitten by one of the bears, while the child was in an area that is not authorized for public access," Greater Vancouver Zoo animal care manager Menita Prasad said in a statement, according to Global News.
“The zoo team is deeply shocked and saddened by the events that have happened. We do have safety protocols and procedures in place to prevent such incidents from happening,” Prasad said, according to CTV News.
“We are completing an investigation and as well as working closely with the conservation officer service and local authorities to ensure that we are as safe as we possibly can, and if there are areas for improvement, then yes, we will make the necessary changes,” Prasad continued.
As of Tuesday, the black bear exhibit has been temporarily closed to the public. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police and British Columbia Conservation Officer Service are investigating the incident, CBC News reported.
The Toronto Star reported that the zoo has three black bears in the enclosure named Rosemary, Thyme and Basil. Staff do not know which one bit the toddler, but the Conservation Officer Service confirmed it would not euthanize the bear who bit the child.
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