Berlin Zoo staff devastated over death of polar bear cub Fritz

Four-month-old infant fell ill from liver inflammation over weekend and later died, leaving mother Tonja and his keepers heartbroken

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A polar bear born at Berlin zoo last November has died.

Four-month-old Fritz fell ill at the weekend at the Tierpark in the eastern part of the German capital.

Vets separated him from his mother, Tonja, on Monday to conduct tests which indicated a liver inflammation.

The zoo said vets were unable to find the precise cause of his illness and Fritz died late on Monday.

Zoo director Andreas Knieriem said: “We're speechless, saddened and depressed. We are devastated. It's incredible how fond we had become of that little polar bear.”

Like Berlin's famous polar bear Knut, who succumbed to illness aged just four in 2011, Fritz had a twin who died shortly after birth.

Named after a contest that drew more than 10,000 entries from Germany and around the world, Fritz had been celebrated across the nation as an heir to Knut - born in a rival Berlin zoo in 2006.