Photo: Grizzly Defeats Zoo’s “Bear-proof” Glass with a Rock


Visitors to the Minnesota Zoo on Monday got a big shock when a grizzly shattered a pane of supposedly bear-proof glass with a rock.

According to witnesses, the bear dug out a rock the size of a basketball and slammed it repeatedly into the glass, cracking a five-layer, two-and-a-half-inch protective window similar to those used at other bear exhibits across the country. While shattered, the exhibit’s glass pane did remain in place and zoo officials said that no visitors or animals were hurt in the incident.

“At no time was there any danger of the bears getting out since there were still four layers of glass, but we’re not going to trust it,” the zoo’s director of animal collections, Tony Fisher, told ABC News.

All large rocks had been previously removed from the bear exhibit, but the grizzly apparently found one that the zookeepers missed. Visitors said the bear, later identified as a decade-old male named Kenai, discovered the rock at the bottom of the pool and started playing around with it. At first the bear threw it against the window, but then started using it as a hammer. Zoo officials believe the bear had little idea of what it was doing and was certainly not attempting to escape.

“[Kenai] is usually the clown out there, fooling around in the water,” Fisher told the Star Tribune. “He didn’t know what he was doing. He was just being a bear.”

The zoo describes Kenai as being the most inquisitive of the grizzlies in the exhibit and the first to try new things. Unfortunately for the Minnesota Zoo, that now means a broken window. Fisher says that the exhibit will be closed down until a new pane is procured as a replacement. The exhibit also houses numerous other items that can be used to aid an escape, such as movable logs and other toys. Zoo officials are now considering changes to make the exhibit more secure.

You can see a short interview with Fisher below:

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