Anton the polar bear dies after eating a purse and coat that were dropped into his exhibit
by Megan Thompson
Categories: Animals, Causes.

This week, yet another captive animal died a tragic and unnecessary death due to the incompetence of zoo guests and staff. On Tuesday, Anton the polar bear sickened and died after eating a coat and purse that fell, unnoticed, into his exhibit in Stuttgart, Germany.

Zookeepers reported that Anton was acting strangely and, when he began spitting out pieces of material, they realized that the animal must have consumed items of clothing without being noticed. Staff attempted to save the bear by feeding him vomit-inducing drugs, but the damage was already done. Later that day, Anton died of severe internal injuries.

When interviewed, the bear’s keepers, Andreas Woessner and Juergen Diesenhofer, simply said “[t]here must have been something very tasty in there, something Anton simply could not resist.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time an animal at this zoo has suffered from items that were dropped or tossed into its enclosure. In the last few years, an elephant seal named Charly and and a hippopotamus died after swallowing a teddy bear and a tennis ball, respectively.

In response to Anton’s death, the zoo has increased its warnings to visitors, urging patrons to hold onto their belongings and not drop food or items into the exhibits. However, it is likely that the warnings fall on deaf ears. In the past 25 years, zookeepers have reported finding 200 children’s’ shoes – as well as countless other items – in the polar bear exhibit alone. It is truly a wonder that more bears have not met Anton’s tragic fate.

The German zoo has come under scrutiny for its negligence in protecting animals like Anton and has added to the uproar which began earlier this week when a Copenhagen zoo killed a healthy young giraffe and fed its body to lions.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Related on Ecorazzi

+Zoo Kills Healthy Giraffe “Marius” to Prevent Inbreeding

+Captive Asian Elephant Dies of Constipation at Miami Zoo

+Photographer Captures the Suffering of Zoo Animals Worldwide

About Megan Thompson

Megan is a healthy living and natural beauty advocate who is obsessed with sustainable gardening, food politics, human rights and animal protection. An L.A. native, she loves staying on top of the latest pop culture news and green lifestyle trends. When she is not writing, she loves going to the beach, hula hooping and working on upcycling projects.

View all posts by Megan Thompson →
  • Manel Dias

    This is totally wasteful of a Beautiful Animals precious life. If this type of tragedy had happened earlier, then the zoo Management & the zoo keepers should have being more vigilent to keep an eye on such matters very carefully. Need to change the rules and regulations of the visitors. Bring the new laws and methods to alert the visitors that such illegal actions of throwing things at the animals are totally prohibited and if found the punishment would be severe and will be a fine added to it too. Some humans could be evil and wicked and need to know that not every visitor is coming there to see the animals because they are so kind & compassionate towards them. So keep in mind that the evil people may enter there in the hope of harming the animals. So put up the surveilance camers all over to find the subhumans and make sure to protect the innocent animals who are already being caged and going under stress and deprivation. If the zoo cannot accommodate the protections towards the animals then the zoo needs to be closed. Send the animals to sanctuaries to be free and happy.