General Crime

* Man Climbed into Bear Cage at San Francisco Zoo Arrested for Trespassing

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A man who allegedly climbed into the grizzly bear enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo this afternoon has been arrested in connection with misdemeanor trespassing and harassing an animal in captivity, police said tonight.  The 27-year-old man was taken to San Francisco General Hospital for an evaluation after he allegedly scaled a short wall, swam across an 8-foot-wide moat and sat just feet away from some bears about 5 p.m.  One bear “did get close enough to sniff him and put his paw on him,” San Francisco police Sgt. Wilfred Williams said.   A zoo visitor notified employees, who immediately implemented a “code red” response, according to a statement from zoo spokeswoman Gwendolyn Tornatore.  One worker fired a warning shot to scare off the bears, which were then safely secured inside their dens, Tornatore said.  The man, who was not hurt, was taken into police custody. San Francisco Fire crews also assisted.  Police and zoo officials are investigating the incident. Tornatore has scheduled a press conference for 9 a.m. Sunday at the zoo’s South Gate, off Herbst Road. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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  • What an idiot! He’s very lucky he didn’t become bear food. This happens at least once a year in some zoo worldwide, though it’s usually in a polar bear exhibit — and usually the numbskull doesn’t live to be arrested.

    This does, however, show how prepared the San Francisco Zoo is to handle emergencies! After the tiger tragedy, this is a good sign.

    Allen Nyhuis, Coauthor: America’s Best Zoos

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