A longtime Alaska Zoo resident alpaca named Caesar was killed Saturday night or Sunday morning by a wild brown bear that broke into the alpaca’s enclosure.
The bear, which had reportedly been causing problems in nearby neighborhoods, tore through the zoo’s perimeter fence Saturday night, zoo officials wrote in a blog post.
The bear then broke through a split-rail cedar fence around the alpaca enclosure and killed Caesar, a 16-year-old white alpaca popular with zoo visitors, The Anchorage Daily News reported.
“He would walk up towards people and interact and sometimes spit on them if they upset him, but that’s what members of the camel family do,” said executive director Patrick Lampi, according to the publication.
Caesar’s companion, an alpaca-llama mix named Fuzzy Charlie Kozak, escaped and was later found by workers elsewhere inside the zoo, the blog says. He’s in good condition.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game officers killed the bear, an adult male, on Monday when it returned to the area, Alaska Public Radio reported.
Wildlife officials had already targeted the bear for removal because of its earlier activities, including tipping over dumpsters in search of food, the zoo blog says.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of both a wild bear and Caesar the alpaca,” Lampi said, according to the blog. “We care deeply about all animals and feel saddened by the deaths on both sides of the situation.”
The zoo, which plans to acquire another alpaca, has reinforced the perimeter and alpaca enclosure fences, The Anchorage Daily News reported.