Bear cub bites college students, creates rabies concerns - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Bear cub bites college students, creates rabies concerns


The idea was simple: bring in a petting zoo in order to give college students a way to relax a bit during finals week.

But the idea backfired at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, where 18 students were bitten by the little bear cub.

"They're cute, they're cuddly, but they're still wild animals," one animal expert said.

The university brought a petting zoo to campus to act as a stress reliever for finals week. But some of the students who held the 2-month-old bear cub named Boo Boo on Sunday afternoon suffered small bites.

The biggest problem is that doctors and vets didn't know whether the cub had rabies, and the only way to find out involves killing the cub and testing it.

So far, 18 students had reported being nipped with bites breaking their skin.

The university said in a statement that the situation is "extremely unfortunate" for both the students and the cub.

Veterinarians were eventually able to rule out rabies and the bear cub wasn't put down.

The university said they had no idea the bear cub was going to be part of the petting zoo.

Rabies vaccinations would only have been necessary if the bear tested positive.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) and the Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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