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Canada  

Uproar over DQ bear

An international wildlife protection charity says they hope the Alberta government sends a strong message as it investigates a central Alberta zoo that took one of its bears through a drive-thru for ice cream.

The video, posted on social media this week by the Discovery Wildlife Park in Innisfail, showed a one-year old captive bear named Berkley leaning out a truck's window and being hand-fed ice cream by the owner of the Innisfail Dairy Queen. It has since been removed.

The province launched two investigations into the "disturbing" video after bear experts called it irresponsible and disrespectful — although a zoo trainer defended it as an educational video done "on purpose for a purpose."

Zoocheck spokesman Rob Laidlaw said the province needs to make sure a similar "stunt" never happens again.

"It's ridiculous, it's entirely irresponsible," he said. "(The province) should be looking at this and sending a message to anybody else who might be contemplating this type of activity that it's not appropriate and make sure there are repercussions for doing this."

The province's investigation will look at the incident and the zoo's operating permit to determine whether there are any violations.

They will act if necessary, spokesman Brendan Cox said late Thursday.

"To me, it's sort of cut and dry," said Laidlaw. "Anybody who's sensible that cares about animals or human safety should be saying that the province has got to do something to make sure this never happens again."

A report on Discovery Wildlife Park by Zoocheck in 2015 found more than 50 violations of the Alberta zoo standards.



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