Vancouver Zoo evacuated; wind breaks grizzly bear enclosure
WATCH: Will Cutt describes the lockdown at the Vancouver Zoo to Geoff Hastings on BC1
“It felt like Jurassic Park.”
That’s what Will Cutt said after a harrowing few hours stuck in the Vancouver Zoo due to today’s wind storm which battered down the fences of some animal enclosures.
He was at the zoo for his niece’s first birthday and were inside an educational room when they were told they wouldn’t be allowed to leave.
“We were confined to the room we were in. Shortly thereafter they came and locked all the doors and closed the windows and told us we weren’t allowed to leave, we were on lockdown, because the wind has blown trees down that took out a bunch of fences for enclosures for animals,” said Cutt.
One of those animals? A grizzly bear.
“They really didn’t get into what animals were out, we sort of heard talking and we know for sure the grizzlies were roaming around. We couldn’t go anywhere, we were trapped in there for hours. We had to pee in buckets. It was quite the ordeal,”
Eventually, zoo officials decided it would be better for those inside to be let out.
“They said they can’t let us out without a green light…They then ushered us four at a time, out of the building, straight into a van, took us quickly out of the the park into the parking lot, closed the gates behind us, got us in our car, got us out of there, and basically said ‘go’.” said Cutt.
An employee with the Vancouver Zoo told Global News that a grizzly bear did escape, but had been locked up by the time people were allowed to leave.
Cutt says the Vancouver Zoo employees were completely professional throughout the ordeal.
“They did a really good job of trying to keep everyone out, and everyone safe. They were following protocol for sure. There was a bunch of panicky people,” he said.
General Manager Jody Henderson says that thankfully, the grizzly bear never left its enclosure area, and that all animals are now in custody and accounted for.
“Everybody’s safe, and there’s no injuries, human or animal,” she said.
Henderson says that visitors who were outside were evacuated from the park prior to the fences being knocked down, because of concern over the high winds.
The Vancouver Zoo will be closed on Sunday, but Henderson says they’ll be working hard to reopen as soon as possible.