Four escaped polar bears shot in German zoo

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The Independent Online

Four polar bears that escaped from their enclosure and were wandering through a public zoo in Germany were shot dead after attempts to tranquilize them failed, officials said Thursday.

Four polar bears that escaped from their enclosure and were wandering through a public zoo in Germany were shot dead after attempts to tranquilize them failed, officials said Thursday.

Police said someone broke two "thick padlocks" on a gate Wednesday evening, allowing the bears to wander out of their enclosure and into the public areas of the zoo. A visitor saw them and raised the alarm.

Zoo workers tried to shoot the bears with tranquilizer darts, but were hampered by a strong wind and the fact that the bears still had their thick winter fur, said zoo director Dieter Kuehnlein. A decision was finally made to use real bullets to prevent any threat to people in the park, he said.

Police were investigating to determine who broke the locks open.

The polar bears had been sent to the Nuremberg zoo temporarily from the zoo in Karlsruhe, which is undergoing renovations.

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