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A rare bear that spent most of its life kept in a tiny metal cage barely big enough to turn around in has been poisoned just as she started a new life in a bear sanctuary in Germany.


A rare bear that spent most of its life kept in a tiny metal cage barely big enough to turn around in has been poisoned just as she started a new life in a bear sanctuary in Germany.

Julia – a rare light coloured brown bear of a type found only in Syria and Lebanon had just started to get used to the feel of grass under her paws and the opportunity to roam in the large enclosure at Bad Füssing near Munich in Germany when she was fed the pesticide infected meat.

She died a short while later in incredible pain after suffering from sickness, fever, muscle cramps and breathing difficulties before finally succumbing to internal bleeding.

Born in a zoo in the Croatian capital Zagreb in 1991 Julia was sold to businessman as a pat and kept in a tiny cage barely large enough to turn around in. She was rescued at the sanctuary two years ago and had to go through a long quarantine process and a slow introduction getting used to open spaces.

Staff believed they had finally taught Julia to enjoy life roaming with the other bears when she died.

Puzzled by the sudden illness staff at the sanctuary which is funded by donations from volunteers asked vets to carry out an autopsy and they discovered that Julia had been poisoned by meat that had been injected with E 605 or Parathion, a potent poison that is banned in many countries including Germany.

Experts at the Luwdig-Maximilians-University said that the poison had been difficult to detect but they have now confirmed that the bears death had been a deliberate act.

The bear protection association that runs the sanctuary said they would now be planning to install CCTV cameras to prevent a repeat incident against their other bears.

Spokesman Dr Arpad von Gaal said: "This was a sneaky deceitful and incredibly cruel action and everybody here is shocked. Julia was an extremely rare bear and in addition had finally started to see some enjoyment in her life when she was killed in an extremely cruel way. There are only a few dozen specimens with such light-coloured fur in the wild."

The association has filed a complaint with police but so far there are no clues as to who was behind the incident.

German Herald

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