Zoo officials issue Code 1 at Great Plains Zoo

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — It wasn’t a typical day for people visiting the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls. Visitors were told to take cover after a bear caused an issue. 

Staff say a bear was not where it was supposed to be, which prompted the alert to visitors. But zoo officials say it’s something they train for.

Tom Meier and his family were expecting just a typical day at the zoo. But just before noon Tuesday, that changed.

“Somebody pulled up on a golf cart and said we’re not in danger but to take cover in the restroom that was nearby so we had to sit in there for about an hour or so before they came back and let us know it was all clear,” visiting zoo, Tom Meier said.

Zoo officials issued a Code 1, which means an animal is not where it is supposed to be.

In this case it was a brown bear. While this isn’t the bear, it is the sister to the bear that caused the issue.

“There was never a bear loose in the zoo, it never entered the public space, it never left its containment, we do, however, clear grounds at a time like this to make sure people are safe,” CEO of Great Plains Zoo, Elizabeth Whealy said.

Whealy says this is something staff members train for, to keep everyone safe.

“Our team is amazing, the training they’ve done with their animals, the trust they have with their animals and their medical, veterinary animal care skills really shown through today, everyone is safe including the bear, there’s no cause for concern,” Whealy said.

Making it a situation that ended well.

“I didn’t feel too worried about it, just waiting it out,” Meier said.

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