(ANIMAL WELFARE/ZOOS) GERMANY — In yet another shocking animal death this week at a European zoo, a polar bear named Anton died after eating a spectator’s purse and coat that were thrown into the bear’s enclosure.

Earlier this week, the Copenhagen Zoo controversially shot and killed a healthy 18-month-old giraffe named Marius to make room for a giraffe with “more valuable genes.”

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Polar bear Anton at the Wilhelma Zoo in 2008. Photo Credit: NBC News

Zookeepers at the Wilhelma Zoo in Stuggart, Germany noticed something was wrong with Anton when he began acting unusually. They realized the 25-year-old bear must have swallowed the objects when he began spitting up pieces of fabric and other materials.

The staff gave Anton vomit-inducing drugs in hopes he would throw up the toxic material. But sadly, Anton died Monday of severe intestinal injuries.

“There must have been something very tasty in there, something Anton simply could not resist,” Anton’s keepers, Andreas Woessner and Juergen Diesenhofer, told The Times.

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The many different pieces of fabric found inside of Anton’s stomach. Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk

As if you needed another reason not to take your kids to the zoo, this isn’t the first time a zoo animal died from ingesting a foreign object dropped into their enclosure.

In previous years, the Wilhelma Zoo also lost an elephant seal who swallowed a teddy bear and a hippo who swallowed a tennis ball.

Similarly, in 2012, a 30-year-old giraffe named Kilwon died at the Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia with a 40-pound wad of trash and plastic stuck in his belly.

Anton’s death is forcing the zoo to be more careful and warn their visitors to be aware of their belongings. They are also asking visitors to report lost, large items in order to have zookeepers locate and remove them as quickly as possible.

— Cara Meyers, exclusive to Global Animal

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