Wild deer wonders into the polar bear exhibit at the Pittsburgh zoo.
Wild deer jumps into polar bear tank at Pittsburgh Zoo
Friday, November 09, 2007
By Wade Malcolm, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A wild whitetail deer jumped from the top of a 20 foot wall into the tank of two young polar bears at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium this morning.
And the apparently feisty forest dweller survived the encounter, at least for a little while.
On land and through the water, the bears chased the deer around in circles for a few minutes after he plunged into the cold water at 11:30 a.m., but they never mounted an attack, zoo officials said. Zoo keepers eventually lured the bears and the deer into holding pens. But the deer went into shock after the incident and had to be euthanized.
Before that, though, the buck gave the brother bears, who will turn 3 this month, quite the tussle, zoo officials said. As zoo patrons watched, the deer kept the curious bears at bay with head butts and hooves, forcing them to back off when they came near their unusual visitor, said Dr. Barbara Baker, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Zoo. The whole ordeal only lasted a few minutes and was caught on the camera that shows a live feed from the polar bear exhibit.
"The young bears didn't know what to do . . . and the deer was an aggressive animal," she said, adding the situation probably would have ended differently with older bears. "They're very inquisitive and very curious," she said of the young bears, "but they don't have that killing instinct."