JACKSONVILLE — A bear escaped an exhibit at a Florida zoo and attacked a zookeeper before being fatally shot by workers, officials said.
The escape in a behind-the-scenes area happened just after 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Zoo officials said in a Facebook post that an emergency call was initiated and the facility’s “lethal weapons team responded immediately.”
“Our highest priority is always the safety of human lives, therefore, the bear was shot and killed,” the statement said. “We will be conducting an ongoing investigation over the coming days and weeks. We do not take this lightly. It is profoundly painful when we have a loss of an animal, especially under circumstances such as this.”
FirstCoast News reported that Jacksonville Fire and Rescue crews took the zookeeper who was attacked to a hospital for treatment with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
News outlets identified the bear as Jonny, a 5-year-old North American black bear.
No additional details were immediately available.