German polar bear dies after eating coat, purse

Anton the polar bear died in at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, German, on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014,...

Anton the polar bear died in at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, German, on Monday, Feb. 10, 2014, after eating a purse and coat. The bear was 25 years old. (Wilhelma Zoo/Handout/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:40 AM ET

A polar bear died at a German zoo after it ate a coat and purse that fell into its enclosure, officials say.

Anton the polar bear was 25 years old. It died Monday at Stuttgart's Wilhelma Zoo.

Staff said they discovered Anton had eaten the items after the bear began to behave strangely and vomit.

The bear died of severe intestinal injury and inflammation.

Normally the bear would just tear the bag and jacket apart, but staffers said this time, "it must have been something very delicious that Anton could not resist."

The zoo said it's not uncommon for "careless" visitors to drop items into animal enclosures, but they need to be told when it happens.

"If we had known that something was in the pen, we might have been able to save Anton," veterinarian Tobias Knauf Witzens said.

Anton could have lived another 15 years if it hadn't eaten the jacket, staff said.


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