Bear shot dead at German zoo after escaping from cage

Taps was a so-called cappuccino bear – a cross between a brown bear and a polar bear

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A bear that broke out of its cage at a zoo in northern Germany was shot dead by a zookeeper while visitors were evacuated, police have said.

After the bear escaped through a hole in its cage, the staff at the zoo in Osnabrueck took visitors into the monkey house to shelter, German media reported.

The zookeeper shot the bear dead before the police arrived at the scene, the head of the zoo Andreas Busemann said.

"We reacted immediately with our team, and in order to protect the visitors, we had to shoot him," he added.

Mr Busemann said the bear, called Taps, was one of the zoo's main attractions, a so-called cappuccino bear – with a polar bear and a brown bear as parents.

"Numerous police officers rushed to the zoo [...] together with staff at the zoo, the whole area was evacuated," a police spokeswoman said, adding that a second bear had been found safe inside its pen.

No one was hurt in the incident.

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