05:55 GMT30 November 2020
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    Discovery Wildlife Park, a private zoo in Canada's Alberta province, was hit with two animal welfare-related charges under the province's Wildlife Act after zoo officials took a one-year-old Kodiak bear to a local Dairy Queen to film a safety video.

    The video, which was shared on the zoo's social media sites on January 14 before being removed two days later, showed a bear named Berkley leaning out of a car window and being hand fed ice cream by the owner of the establishment.

    While Berkley is enjoying her scoop of vanilla ice cream, the narrators in the background are giving information on how bears can smell food from miles away, suggesting viewers should keep their food indoors and refrain from ever feeding them.

    ​After being tipped off to the video, officials with Alberta's Fish and Wildlife department launched an investigation into the issue.

    According to the Huffington Post, one of the charges is related to the bear being taken through Dairy Queen's drive-thru while the second is linked to the bear leaving the zoo without prior approval.

    "What we got charged for under the act was that we failed to notify them that we were going to do those things," Doug Bos, one of the owners of the facility told the publication on Tuesday. "We were busy, we made a mistake and we didn't email them and tell them."

    "I'm glad that they followed through with it because it shows how strictly regulated the zoo industry is in the province," Bos added, before stating the both he and co-owner Debbie Rowland plan to plead guilty when returning to court on May 28.

    Kim Titchener, who runs a wildlife protection organization in Alberta, told CBC News that the zoo's promo sent the wrong message on how to interact with bears and that trying to get people to understand to not approach bears can be a difficult task.

    "It's a challenge every day out there in our parks and protected areas to try to teach people who are visiting these places or live here in Alberta that we don't feed wildlife, that we don't feed bears," Titchener told the outlet.

    The zoo's permit, which is regulated by the Alberta Environment and Parks, has since been revised and now requires the facility to provide additional information when transporting "a controlled animal or wildlife." It also requires officials to keep animals in a crate or kennel when inside a vehicle.


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