Staff at a Hamburg zoo say one of their orangutans died needlessly after a visitor broke park rules against feeding animals. The animal, they claim, drowned in pursuit of a bread roll that had been lobbed into her enclosure.
An orangutan drowned in a German zoo on Wednesday after she fell into a water basin while trying to fish out a bread roll a visitor had thrown into her enclosure.
Zookeepers at the Tierpark Hagenbeck in Hamburg rushed to Leila's aid, but by the time they had pulled her out of the water she was dead.
Chief zookeeper Walter Wolters said a visitor was responsible for the drowning. "Leila wanted to get the roll, but instead fell into the water and drowned," he told German news agency DPA.
The orangutan, which was 10 years old, had lived in the Hamburg zoo since birth. Wolters said all the zoo's staff were very upset by Leila's death. "We are especially devastated by her death, because orangutans are a very endangered species and Leila was a valuable breeding animal," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.
The visitor who threw the roll has not yet been identified. The zoo forbids the feeding of animals and has signs up that expressly remind visitors of the ban. Staff are now considering whether to file charges with police.