Polar Bear Attack, 1938


This file appears in: The Great Depression and the Zoo
Polar Bear Attack, 1938

An unfortunate event that marred the success of work relief programs at the Brookside Zoo was the maiming and near-death of 21 year old WPA artist Judy Zemnick in 1938. With events recreated in the picture above, Judy was sketching a polar bear on top of a 12 foot stone column with her feet hanging into the enclosure. Underestimating the speed of the 600 pound animal, she was dragged into the cage and brutally mauled. After nearly 20 minutes, her body was pulled from the cage. Although she survived the attack, the young artist was severely scarred and lost an eye.


This file appears in: The Great Depression and the Zoo