Bear escapes from zoo enclosure – 2nd time this month – forcing guests to move indoors

Stainless steel enclosure clips rated at 450 pounds tensile strength were no match for Ben, an Andean bear at the St. Louis Zoo on Thursday. The clever 4-year-old, whose enclosure had supposedly been reinforced after an escape earlier this month, managed to bearhandle the barricade just so, breaking free once again.

The great escape occurred at lunchtime, around 1pm, whereupon zoo guests were ushered indoors out of safety concerns.

From NBC News:

During the earlier escape, Ben was spotted outside his habitat in the zoo's River's Edge area at 8 a.m., the zoo said in a news release at the time.

"It would appear that the very curious bear meddled with the steel mesh in just the right spot of the outdoor habitat, causing a cable to give way, which then allowed the bear to work his way out," the release said. …

The zoo said Thursday it would consult with an advisory group in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to try to determine alternative methods to secure Ben's habitat.

While Ben's first breakout allowed him to taste freedom for 1 1/2 hours, yesterday's escapade only lasted for about 50 minutes. No doubt another exit strategy is already in the works.