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47-year-old Tracy Weiler, also from Manitowoc, is recovering at a Green Bay hospital after she had some of her fingers severed by an Asiatic black bear last Friday, the Herald Times reports.
“It appears that she suffered the loss of some fingers, especially, all of her thumb and forefinger and parts of her middle and ring fingers,” Captain Scott Lunchterhand told the Herald Times reports.
The grandmother, who was visiting the zoo with her boyfriend and 3-year-old granddaughter, put her hands through the fencing as she fed one of the bears in the pen. The bear also took a bite out of her 51-year boyfriend Lawrence Bosworth as he tried to free the woman from the bear’s jaws, but he only suffered minor injuries.
“Clearly, these are large, powerful animals,” said Aaron Buchholz, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to the Herald Times. Bears that seem tame are “still capable of really hurting you and killing you”
Zoo officials say they were not able to identify which of the bears bit the woman, but for now both Moe and Honey who were present during the incident will remain isolated in their pen.
According to the Manitowoc Health Department the bears will not be euthanized, since both victims agreed to undergo a series of vaccinations against the rabies.
Both Weiler and Bosworth will have to foot the bill for the vaccinations, and if the bears were to be put down, they would’ve had to foot the bill for that too, adding the cost of sending the bear’s heads to the state labs as well as replacing the bears at the zoo — pretty expensive.