Reeves muntjac

A Reeves muntjac at Moncton's Magnetic Hill Zoo was killed by a wild bear that broke in on Sept. 30. (Courtesy of Magnetic Hill Zoo)

A wild bear broke into the Magnetic Hill Zoo in Moncton on Monday morning and killed a deer, officials have announced.

Department of Natural Resources officers put the bear down "to avoid safety issues with other animals, zoo employees, visitors and nearby residents," general manager Bruce Dougan said in a statement.

“This is an unfortunate situation," he said.

“We do find skunks and raccoons who find their way under or over our perimeter fence, but in my 24 years at the zoo, I have never seen a large wild animal enter the facility.”

The incident occurred some time before dawn, said Dougan.

The bear attacked a Reeves muntjac, a small breed from the forests of southeastern China and Taiwan that is also known as a barking deer because when they are threatened, they utter noises similar to that of a barking dog.

Reeves muntjacs typically weigh between 11 and 16 kilograms and live an average of 17 years.

Zoo staff are still trying to determine how the bear got into the facility, which is surrounded by a seven-foot fence, said Dougan.

All enclosures have been built following industry standards of the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, he added.