• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Polar bear dies after eating coat and bag

DPA/The Local · 11 Feb 2014, 10:05

Published: 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.

Story continues below…

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 news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Raging ticket controller seizes Chinese traveler's passport
File photo of a plainclothes ticket controller. Photo: DPA.

Germany's national rail operator is in hot water after a ticket controller reacted aggressively to a newly arrived Chinese traveler who made one of the most basic transit mistakes: forgetting to stamp her ticket.

Berlin politician crusades for health of skateboarding dog
File photo: DPA

Can a canine enjoy skateboarding? That's the question Berlin politicians are struggling to address in a row over a dog on four wheels.

Police hunt Brits who Hitler-saluted in concentration camp
Buchenwald. Photo: DPA

Authorities in Germany are searching for two British men who took a picture of themselves performing a Nazi salute in a torture chamber in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Far-right tries to lure voters with own-brand gummy bears

Germany's far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), have come up with an unusual marketing strategy on their website.

How your boss can still pay lower than the minimum wage
A protest in front of the Chancellery in 2013. Photo: DPA

German workers are disappointed about the first-ever court ruling on the country's year-old minimum wage law.

'Shit show' Berlin airport
Plan to open Berlin airport in 2017 finally (inevitably) dead
Passengers won't be walking beneath Willy Brandt's name in lights any time soon. Photo: DPA

Travellers are set to wait still longer for Berlin's much-delayed new airport to open, as city media report that a provisional opening date in late 2017 is no longer achievable.

Hero bin man saves child from 2nd storey plunge
Bogdan W. (r) with four-year-old Eden. Photo: DPA

A young boy had a miraculous rescue in western Germany on Wednesday when a bin man happened to see him hanging from the window ledge and managed to catch him just in time.

Church hides refugees from state in Bavarian beauty spot
The view near Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

The Catholic Church in southern Bavaria is offering religious asylum to refugees who fled Isis, and who the state now wants to deport.

German firm fights years-long battle to crack Rubik's Cube
Photo: DPA

A German toy manufacturer is nearing success in its long battle to be able to make a Rubik's Cube all of its own.

The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Society
Pegida enraged by black children on chocolate bars
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
Lifestyle
10 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
Politics
MP recites explicit Erdogan bestiality poem on live TV
National
China beats Germany in readiness to help refugees
Hamburg
Headless Lübeck corpse turns out to be discarded sex doll
National
Pensioner claims to have found hidden Nazi nukes
Business & Money
Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
7,858
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd