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‘That’s not nice!’ Brown bear eats entire family of ducks in front of kids at Seattle zoo

caption: Chick-eating grin: Juniper, a brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle who snarfed down a mama duck and her ducklings.
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Chick-eating grin: Juniper, a brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle who snarfed down a mama duck and her ducklings.
Woodland Park Zoo

Juniper is a 2-year-old brown bear at the Woodland Park Zoo, a large blonde girl described as sassy and mischievous by her keepers.

Last week, Juniper became TikTok famous for being, well, a bear. Here’s what happened.

It was a sunny day in Seattle, and Juniper had spotted a mama duck and her five fuzzy ducklings tootling along in her bear pond.

Juniper nimbly vaulted herself into the pond and swam straight for the ducks. She grabbed a duckling with her long claws, lifted it to her mouth and delicately bit its head off. Unsated, she went for another duckling, and then another, and finally, the mama.

The video was posted to TikTok four days ago by user Rachelle, who said she was at the zoo for her daughter’s birthday party. Children are heard screaming during the video – although not in horror.

“That’s not nice,” cried one, as Juniper slurped down a duckling like a raw oyster.

“That’s a good strategy,” said another enthusiastically, after Juniper separated the mama from her babies.

Others smacked the glass with their palms, presumably hoping to distract Juniper enough to save the ducks. But this brown bear did not care.

Midway through the slaughter, Rachelle, the parent recording the event, sounded resigned. “Hey buddy, can we not?" she said, in a tone typically reserved for children who have long ago broken their parents' spirits.

Juniper came to the Woodland Park Zoo in the summer of 2022 after being discovered alone on an airport runway in Anchorage, Alaska. Juniper, then 89 pounds, was a fluffy singleton who’d been separated from her mother. No one knows what happened to her mother, although it’s possible she was hit by a car or killed illegally.

Juniper was packed into a small steel cargo container and flown down to Seattle on an Alaska Airlines flight. She was later introduced to Fern, a grizzly bear cub from Montana, and the two became best friends.

Fern can be seen in the TikTok video as well – disinterested as Juniper snarfs down the ducks.

On TikTok, the commenters delighted in the video. “Bear was like sweet, Uber eats is here with my nuggets,” wrote one.

“The way it keeps getting worse,” wrote another.

After posting, Rachelle updated her caption to assure viewers that her children were fine after their visit to the bear enclosure.

“We see wildlife doing their thing all over where we live,” she wrote. “Our kids are not traumatized.”

Update 5/1/2024: A reader sent us a link to *another* video of Juniper eating ducklings, this one from last year.

Also, the Woodland Park Zoo sent us this delightful email:

"While our animal care team doesn’t officially document these natural occurrences, this is the season of waterfowl and bird hatchings and, therefore, a vulnerable time of year for ducklings, goslings and other chicks.

"Woodland Park Zoo is truly an urban oasis and naturally draws native wildlife to our grounds. Over the years, our animal care team has tried to discourage waterfowl and other birds from nesting in or near our habitats throughout the zoo, particularly where our carnivores live. However, free-flying ducks and birds can choose where to nest.

"While we know it can be difficult to watch, bears and other carnivores predating on chicks is a natural instinct and is indeed the circle of life."

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