Caesar, a 16-year-old alpaca was killed last weekend by a wild brown bear who had broken into a zoo in Anchorage, Alaska.
The bear was later euthanized by wildlife officials.
“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss of both a wild bear and Caesar the alpaca,” said the director of the Alaska Zoo, Patrick Lampi. “We care deeply about all animals and feel saddened by the deaths on both sides of the situation.”
The wild bear had reportedly been pawing through trash bins in the nearby neighborhood before moving on to the zoo.
The bear, later on, flipped over garbage cans at the zoo before digging under the facility’s chainlink fence to gain entry. Once he got in, the bear roamed several hundred yards before the deadly encounter with Caesar.
“We typically remove brown bears that start accessing trash,” said Anchorage Area Fish and Game Biologist Dave Battle. “Every so often we get a brown bear that learns that when it flips over (the trash bins)… it’s able to get into the trash.”
Fortunately, Caesar’s alpaca companion, “Fuzzy Charlie Kozak” was able to escape safely and was found “wide-eyed” in a different part of the zoo.
On Monday after the wild break-in, the Alaska Zoo reinforced the fencing and awaited the bear’s return. The creature came back both of the subsequent evenings before ultimately being shot and killed by a Fish and Game biologist.
Meanwhile, Caesar, the alpaca is remembered fondly by those who knew him best.
“He was kind of the unofficial mascot of the zoo,” said Jill Meyer, the zoo’s development director.
“Everyone feels just very close to Caesar, he’s a very personable fellow.It was heartbreaking to lose Caesar, especially in that way. To imagine the last moments of his life is really heartbreaking. ”