The Knoxville Zoo had an unexpected break-in Monday night — from a wandering black bear.

While zoos are always alert to keep their exotic animals safely inside their habitats, they rarely experience a wild animal the size of a bear wanting to get inside their boundaries.

It was about midnight when a zoo ranger spotted a young black bear scaling the 10-foot-high chain-link and barbed wire of the zoo's perimeter fence. A neighbor had alerted the zoo a bear had been seen in the Chilhowee Park area, zoo spokeswoman Tina Rolen said today.

A zoo ranger headed to the park area near its herpetology building and close to Chilhowee Park's East Tennessee Discovery Center. The ranger saw the bear — described as a youngster weighing maybe 150 pounds — in Chilhowee Park.

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