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In a bad week for zoo animals, German polar bear died after swallowing jacket


New research shows that polar bears can swims for days without a break.


Jeff J Mitchell

This hasn't been a good week for zoo animals.

The day after a healthy giraffe was killed and fed to the lions at a Danish zoo, a polar bear at Germany's Wilhelma Zoo died after eating a bag or jacket dropped by a visitor.

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Zookeepers didn't realize something was wrong with 25-year-old Anton until he started spitting out bits of fabric, the Associated Press reported.

They tried giving him a drug to make him vomit up the rest of his ill-advised snack, but the plan failed.

Anton died early Monday of severe intestinal injuries.

"There must have been something very tasty in there, something Anton simply couldn't resist," zookeepers Andreas Wossner and Jurgen Diesenhofer told The Local.

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Zoo staff urged visitors to immediately report the loss of large objects in an effort to prevent similar tragedies.

Amazingly, this wasn't the first time an animal at the zoo had died from eating a foreign object.

A number of years ago, a hippo named Egon died of intestinal obstruction after swallowing a tennis ball, according to The Local.

And in 1996, zoo officials found two stuffed animals, pacifiers and countless coins in the stomach of an elephant seal named Charly who had to be euthanized.