• Germany edition
 
Polar bear dies after eating coat and bag
Anton the polar bear is no more. Photo: DPA

Polar bear dies after eating coat and bag

Published: 11 Feb 2014 10:05 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Feb 2014 10:05 GMT+01:00

The 25-year-old polar bear died on Sunday night after a desperate operation to try to get him to vomit up the ill-advised snack failed, Wilhelma Zoo officials confirmed.

Anton had been behaving somewhat strangely for days, his keepers said, but it only became clear what was wrong when he started spitting out bits of material. The zoo vet gave him a drug to make him vomit, and he produced more pieces of a jacket and bag.

"There must have been something very tasty in there, something Anton simply couldn't resist," said his keepers Andreas Wössner and Jürgen Diesenhofer. Generally he just ripped up things that fell into his enclosure, they said.

How and why the coat and bag got into Anton's enclosure remains unclear. But the electrified fences which surround it failed to stop around 200 children's shoes from being thrown into the water over the last 20 years - along with around 50 babies' dummies, countless hats, cameras, phones and pairs of glasses.

Vet Tobias Knauf-Witzens appealed to visitors to do their best to inform zoo staff about such losses. "If we had known that something was in the enclosure we might have been able to save Anton," he said.

The bear could easily have lived another 10 or 15 years had he not eaten the coat and bag. He died of severe internal injuries and inflammation, an initial examination suggested.

He is not the first animal to die at Stuttgart zoo as a result of eating things he should have left alone. A hippo called Egon died a number of years ago of intestinal obstruction after swallowing a tennis ball, and Charly, the last elephant seal in the zoo died after swallowing a teddy bear.

READ MORE: Knut autopsy 'most in-depth' in animal world

For more stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
German Muslims rally against extremism
Muslims pray in Kreuzberg, Berlin, on Friday outside a mosque which was damaged in an arson attack. Photo: DPA

German Muslims rally against extremism

Muslims across Germany held a day of prayers and rallies on Friday to condemn both Islamic extremism and a backlash against their faith that has seen arson attacks on mosques. READ  

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup
The trainers on the air strip in Hohn, Schleswig-Holstein. Photo: Bundeswehr.

German military flight to Iraq starts with a hiccup

Military trainers flew to northern Iraq from Germany on Friday, ahead of a huge delivery of weapons from the German military, but things didn’t initially go as planned. READ  

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches
Photo: DPA

Munich gets four Euro 2020 matches

UPDATE: Munich will play host to four Euro 2020 games, European football’s governing body Uefa announced in Geneva on Friday, but London was the real winner. READ  

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils
The scene by the bus stop outside the school in Diepholz. Photo: DPA

Driver, 18, ploughs into school pupils

An 18-year-old drove into a group of students outside a school in western Germany on Friday morning, injuring several. READ  

View from Germany
'In a globalized world we don't need more loners'
'No' campaign supporters celebrate in Edinburgh after the results were announced. Photo: DPA

'In a globalized world we don't need more loners'

UPDATE: The German government welcomed the result of the Scottish independence referendum on Friday, with Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier calling it the "right decision". READ  

Oktoberfest 2014
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's beer
Photo: DPA

Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's beer

The Local's Oktoberfest guide chugs some of the Bavarian tipple fueling this whole shindig. READ  

Berlin squat ripped apart by fire
Kreuzberg's Cuvrybrache. Photo: DPA

Berlin squat ripped apart by fire

UPDATE: One of Berlin’s biggest squats was torn apart by a fire on Thursday night following an argument. READ  

Sterilized woman gets pregnant, sues doctors
Photo: DPA

Sterilized woman gets pregnant, sues doctors

A woman who gave birth after becoming sterilized has tried and failed to sue the hospital which carried out the operation. READ  

Thousands queue for Apple's iPhone 6
Queues outside the Apple Store in Dresden. Photo: DPA

Thousands queue for Apple's iPhone 6

UPDATE: Apple’s new iPhone 6 went on sale on Friday morning, leading to long queues outside stores across Germany. Berlin's Apple Store sold out of the iPhone 6 Plus in an hour. READ  

Blitzmarathon
Pupils catch teacher and mum speeding
A camouflaged speed camera in Schleswig-Holstein on Thursday. Photo: DPA

Pupils catch teacher and mum speeding

UPDATE: A nationwide operation against speeding drivers ended on Friday morning, with police hailing their "Blitzmarathon" as a success. One child in Düsseldorf caught his own mother driving too fast, while another driver hit 238 km/h. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Culture
Your guide to Munich Oktoberfest's tents
Photo: DPA
Hamburg
Drunk teachers ruin school trip to Hamburg
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Oktoberfest 2014: The best and worst in dirndl fashion
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Photo: DPA
Education
German universities tumble in global rankings
Photo: Shutterstock
Business & Money
The three types of firms hiring foreigners
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,371
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd