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Woman is mauled by polar bear after jumping into Berlin Zoo enclosure; zoo says it won't change security policy

April 15, 2009 |  6:24 pm

A woman was mauled by a polar bear after jumping into its enclosure at the Berlin Zoo last week

A 32-year-old woman who climbed into the polar bear enclosure and was mauled at the Berlin Zoo last week may face legal action by the zoo for her actions.  But, the Associated Press reports, the zoo doesn't plan to make any changes to its security policy as a result of the incident. 

"It is already safe," zoo spokesman Heiner Kloes said of the enclosure.  In order to enter it, the woman, identified only as Mandy K, had to climb over a fence, a line of hedges, and a wall.  "People who want to jump in will always find a way." 

Mandy K sustained injuries to her arms, legs and back.  "This woman's behaviour not only put her life in danger but also that of the staff who had to rescue her," Kloes told the Telegraph.  "However, we do have guns and we would have been prepared to use them without hesitation if it was felt it was the only way to save the woman."  From the Telegraph:

The keepers' bravery was praised after they dragged the 32-year-old German mother out of a moat for the animals. They had to shove the animal out of the way after one of four polar bears dived into the water and attacked her, inflicting serious bites to her legs and arms.

On Monday it emerged that she is a teacher who had been driven to despair by her failure to find a job.

Celebrity polar bear Knut was reportedly in the enclosure when Mandy K entered it, although he wasn't the bear that attacked her.

Another zoo visitor attempted to visit Knut in December; the man was unhurt in the incident and explained that he thought the bear looked "lonely" and wanted to keep him company.  The zoo pressed trespassing charges.

Mandy K is recovering in a Berlin hospital. 

-- Lindsay Barnett

Photo: Children watch a polar bear swimming in his pool at the Berlin Zoo.  Credit: Marcus Brandt / AFP / Getty Images

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