JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Body camera video obtained by News4JAX on Tuesday shows first responders helping a zookeeper after they were attacked by a bear at the Jacksonville Zoo last month.
According to a 25-page report from Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released Monday, a door was left open in error.
In the report, it is explained that a gate was accidentally left open and the zookeeper was pushed down by the bear. Staffers tried to get the bear known as “Johnny” away from the woman, but in the end, they had to take the bear down to save her life.
Bodycam video shows a Jacksonville police officer rushing to the aid of the zookeeper after she was attacked.
First responders are seen helping the zookeeper onto a stretcher, her face wrapped in badges. As first responders take her to the hospital, she is conscious and talking. One zoo staffer explained to investigators what they saw.
Officer: Did you witness any of this happening?
Zoo Staffer: We came up as he was attacking her right here.
O: And what did you see happen?
Z: We saw the bear attacking her here and then the gun team deployed and shot the bear and we were able to approach her and we euthanized the bear.
The staff member goes on to describe the injuries the bear left all over her coworker’s body.
According to the FWC report, the swinging door to the bear cage was left open in error and there is normally a corridor for animals to transfer where the bears can be rotated.
The zookeeper told investigators she opened the door “by mistake, out of habit,” without the transfer corridor being in place.
She put out food for Johnny and then Claire, another bear in the other enclosure. After hearing the bears, she checked and saw Johnny was not enclosed, moments later, he attacked her.
The zookeeper was taken to the hospital but will survive after what could have been a deadly attack.
State investigators issued a written warning for failure to maintain captive wildlife in a safe condition. The day of the attack, FWC noted the zoo was understaffed, so the bears were not going to be rotated.