Visitors at Cincinnati Zoo in the US were sheltered indoors after a 16-year-old female polar bear breached its "behind the scenes" containment area. Visitors were instructed to either remain indoors or leave the park when then polar bear breach happened as a precautionary move.

A statement from the zoo said: "At approximately 11:30am, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 our female polar bear Berit breached a behind the scenes containment area but was never loose in the zoo. The situation is ongoing and under control... There is no risk to staff or visitors in the park, but as a precaution guests were moved indoors...We are currently working on resolving the situation."

Several visitors waited outside the zoo gates until officials confirmed it was safe and the polar bear was contained. Nearly two hours after the breach, the park gates were reopened again to visitors.

Visitor Ethan Baugher – who was at the zoo for the first time after driving for over an hour from Indiana – said he was "a bit annoyed" that it was not revealed why guests had to remain indoors or leave the park. "This kind of stuff happens...They were maybe a little over-cautious, which is certainly better than not being cautious enough," said Baugher, according to a Cincinnati.com report.

Several zoo visitors took to social media as they waited indoors for the park to re-open.

According to reports, in 1990, a Cincinnati zoo worker lost her arm to a male polar bear attack as she tried to feed him. Laurie Stober was granted $3.5m (£2.46m) in a lawsuit that she filed against the zoo following the accident.

At approximately 11:30am, Wednesday, March 16, 2016 our female polar bear Berit breached a behind the scenes containment...

Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Cincinnati Zoo is now reopen. Polar bears are contained and unharmed. Thank you for your patience. (At approximately...

Posted by Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden on Wednesday, March 16, 2016