BALTIMORE (WJZ) — There was a swift response after two young polar bears at the Maryland Zoo took a detour Thursday into a keeper's worker area.
Zoo officials stress that there was never a risk to the public as the bears never left a secure area and the whole thing was resolved in about 40 minutes.
Even though they were never in any danger, guests were moved into specific areas per zoo protection protocol until the all-clear was given.
WJZ spoke with zoo curator Mike McClure by phone, who said that situations like this are exactly what staff trains for with scheduled and random drills.
"We go through very frequent drill sessions where we will actually come up with any possible scenario that we think we could encounter in managing these animals," said McClure.
Zoo officials said that secondary holding areas like the one the two bears wandered into are part of strategic designs to ensure animal and people safety.
Over the years there have been several incidents across the nation involving animals either escaping their enclosures or people falling into them.
Back in 2017, the ale of "Ollie" the bobcat made headlines after she escaped her enclosure at the National Zoo but was safely found nearly two days later on zoo property.
"My family thinks that the zoo is great," said Baltimore resident, Keith Fischer. "We always had good experiences there and I'm sure that the personnel and the staff had it under control."
Back in Baltimore, fans of the zoo applauded the quick response.
"I was just impressed with how well they handled it," said resident Claire Runquist. "I'm glad that all the training and stuff that they've done worked out and that they're prepared for that type of situation."
Zoo staff said they would be reviewing everything to see if adjustments need to be made.
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