Washington University in St. Louis thought it had a bright idea several years ago to bring in a petting zoo to help alleviate pre-exam stress for its students.
This year, however, the petting zoo included a bear cub that bit 14 students and who now must be tested for rabies. Students who were bitten described it as similar to being nipped by a playful puppy.
Some of the “nips” broke the skin, however, and the tiny bear, named Boo Boo, must be euthanized and tested for rabies, KPLR11 reports. Students are unhappy about this since clearly the bear wasn’t at fault.
“Because the bear cub was born in the wild, State of Missouri and local health officials cannot rule out the possibility that it carries rabies,” the school said in a statement. “The only way to confirm is to test the bear cub following euthanasia. This is an extremely unfortunate situation, for our students and the bear cub. Our focus has been on ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our students. County and state health and agriculture officials have responsibility for determining the appropriate steps to take regarding testing the cub for rabies.”
Student Raja Krishna, 21, told St. Louis Today that he and other students have contacted PETA.
“My main concern is I don’t think the bear should have been brought to campus in the first place,” Krishna said. “This event was both misguided and subsequently mishandled. For the entertainment of a few students, a bear cub had to die, and I think this is just ridiculous.”