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1937

Bear escapes

By Chester Zoo

“Life in a zoo is never dull, there is always something happening, in fact one of the main things at a zoo is to stop things happening, that is things such as animals escaping, but even the most carefully arranged precautions sometimes fail, and then excitement really begins.

We do not like the excitement caused by escaped animals, firstly because they disorganise everything, and secondly they do not inspire confidence among the nervous section of the public, but they have happened and will happen even in the best regulated zoo.

It was on Saturday November 27th that we had such excitement, breakfast had just been completed and the staff had returned to their work, when Rob-Rob the blue and red macaw who spends most of his time on a stand in the kitchen [in Oakfield], gave a yell which had long since become a warning that something out of the ordinary is taking place.

At once those in the kitchen looked up to see the cause, and were horrified to see Sammy the large Malayan Bear walking round the top of the kitchen garden wall. The alarm was at once given and the staff mobilised, in the meantime Sammy had descended into the kitchen garden so it was decided to keep him there if possible while a means of catching him was thought out, so each side of the wall was patrolled and whenever he tried to mount it he was driven down. Once he gained mastery and walked along the top of the polar bear den, but fortunately was driven back.

It was decided if possible to drive him into the Potting Shed and Fruit Store, and then endeavour to get him to enter a travelling crate. Fortunately after about an hour we succeeded in doing this, and he was taken back to his home…

Sammy was put back in his home, but before leaving him the cause of his escape was rectified.”

George Mottershead

See more: Mammals, Mottershead Family