Washington University in St. Louis has announced that a petting zoo bear that bit several students has been determined not to pose a rabies threat. The students won't need treatment, and the bear, who was originally slated to be euthanized and tested, will be spared.
What was supposed to be a cute diversion to help college students relax before exams ended in tragedy, with 14 students injured and a 2-month-old bear cub at risk of being to be put to death.
Boo Boo the bear was part of a petting zoo that has visited Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., in years past for some pre-finals entertainment. The school claimed it didn't know the baby bear was going to be included in this year's zoo. (The petting's zoo website doesn't list him among its "animal friends," either.)
Fourteen students who held the bear reported that he nipped them hard enough to break skin, sparking fears that Boo Boo may have had rabies. The school's health department initially said the cub would have to be euthanized to test for the life-threatening disease.
"This is an extremely unfortunate situation for our students and the bear cub," the university said.
The USDA, which has authority to investigate the petting zoo under the Animal Welfare Act, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it was reviewing the case.
[Photo: Fox 2]