Image via Discovery Wildlife Park/Facebook
This story has been updated with comment from wildlife enforcement.A video of an Alberta zoo taking a bear through a Dairy Queen drive thru for a nice ice cream cone has prompted the government to investigate.Yeah… so the bear is a Kodiak named Berkeley who lives at Discovery Wildlife Park in southern Alberta. I guess it was her first birthday a few days ago, so what we’re seeing is a bear picking out her favourite ice cream for a cake and the zoo decided to film it. The video shows the bear sticking its head out of a truck while a man feeds the bear form the drive thru window.
The Environment and Parks, and the Fish and Wildlife enforcement branch confirmed their investigation to the Canadian Press this morning with a spokesmen calling it “disturbing.” The zoo has since taken down the video but not before it was reviewed by an expert at VICE—me, an Albertan.
At first glance the ice cream cake seems like a joke but you must remember that these are a bunch of people that took a bear through a drive thru—they obviously don’t fuck around. So, it’s not that huge of a shock that there exists another video, this time posted by the Innisfail Dairy Queen, showed them feeding the bear a full ice cream cake. In the video Discovery Wildlife Park trainer, Serena Bos, feeds the bear the cake while taking questions on Facebook Live, including one about what else they feed the animal.“Peanuts are Berkeley’s favourite treat on a daily basis, it has high protein which is important,” Bos says in the video. “Occasionally, about once a month since we found out she likes it, is she really enjoys [Kraft Dinner.]”“I’m sure many of you out there have one year olds that really like KD too.”This video has also been removed.
The bear has never known the wild, being born in captivity to captive parents. The Canadian Press spoke to a bear expert who, among others, called the video irresponsible and said that ice cream cake is "not part of their natural diet nor is it natural for a bear to be eating an ice-cream cake in the middle of winter when they should be sleeping."
"It's a challenge every day out there in our parks and protected areas to try to teach people who are visiting these places or live here in Alberta that we don't feed wildlife, that we don't feed bears," said Bear Safety & More’s Kim Titchener, told CP."We need to conserve and protect them, and respect them."
Discovery Wildlife Park pushed back on the idea that their video is reckless by saying that the Dairy Queen was closed when they brought a bear in a truck through it therefore no threat to the public was occuring. In the video Bos does say that Berkley isn’t a normal bear and that it’s a bad idea to try and feed a normal, wild bear.The Canadian Press also found that in 2015, Discovery Wildlife Park was found to have more than 50 violations after being looked at by Zoocheck Canada. These violations include them having a supervised “kiss a grizzly” attraction which “pose[s] a significant risk to the public,” and not having proper containment for some of their animals.Discovery Wildlife Park has not responded to VICE’s request for comment but this story will updated it if they do. Nevertheless, us folk here at VICE Canada would, even though we’re not exactly bear experts, advise against feeding bears tasty frozen treats.Follow Mack Lamoureux on Twitter