I’ve just learned that Anton from Zoo Wilhelma, Stuttgart had passed away this Monday from intestinal injuries after swallowing a jacket or a bag, which somehow had landed in his enclosure. He would have turned 25 this year and was expected to live for 10 to 15 more years.
Anton wasn’t like any other polar bears I’d visited in Germany. He was playful and absolutely affectionate — he and Corinna were inseparable whenever we visited. There was this time when Irene and I were at the zoo, Corinna kept running between the two “rooms” of their enclosure, and he simply followed her, as if he couldn’t let her out of his sight (or perhaps they were just playing a game of hide-and-seek).
In a chance meeting with Jen, he shared with me a few endearing stories about the polar bear couple: how they enjoyed snuggling, how Corinna used to lick Anton’s ear and how Anton would act all shy or even embarrassed when he realized they weren’t alone.
This post is a tribute to Anton, the polar bear that was, and still is, loved and will always be remembered by many. You will be in my thoughts and prayers, dear Anton.
(More on the tragedy: Stuttgarter Zeitung)
We won’t forget you, Anton. Thanks for the joy you’ve brought us all…