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April 18, 2014

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German zoo’s polar bear swallows jacket, dies

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014 | 7:55 a.m.

BERLIN (AP) — A German zoo says one of its polar bears has died after apparently swallowing a jacket or bag dropped into his enclosure by a visitor.

The Wilhelma zoo in Stuttgart said Tuesday that zookeepers realized something was wrong with 25-year-old Anton when he started vomiting pieces of fabric. The bear died early Monday of severe intestinal injuries.

The zoo says it's not clear why Anton ate the object rather than tearing it apart, as he usually did with things that landed in his enclosure. His keepers suspect there was something tasty inside that the bear couldn't resist.

The zoo appealed to visitors to report the loss of large objects — allowing zookeepers to remove them quickly. It says it previously lost an elephant seal that swallowed a toy animal.