INNISFAIL, Alberta, Canada – The video was a hit with some, but Canada’s Discovery Wildlife Park is taking a hit for it.
The private zoo has been charged with two offenses under Alberta’s Wildlife Act after caretakers allowed a captive Kodiak bear to be hand-fed ice cream in a Dairy Queen drive-thru in Innisfail.
After a video of the incident was posted to Facebook in January (it has since been removed), critics deemed it irresponsible, though one of the zoo’s owners, Doug Bos, said it was educational, per the CBC.
“The message was: Don’t feed the bears. Don’t stop on the side of the road. If everybody would listen to the video, that’s what the message was—don’t do this,” Bos told the CBC in January.
The zoo also emphasized that it took care to eliminate risk: The bear was on a chain, and the scene was shot before Dairy Queen opened (the shop’s owner was the one doing the feeding).
The zoo is charged with taking the 1-year-old bear from its facility without notifying provincial officials, and Bos says he plans to plead guilty. “We were busy. We made a mistake and we didn’t email them,” he tells the Canadian Press.
The second offense relates to instances in 2017 where similar notification wasn’t provided.