BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Europe  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Tuesday, 20 August, 2002, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Prague's rescued seal dies
Gaston the seal
Gaston was finally captured north of Dresden
A seal which made a bid for freedom when Prague zoo was flooded, has died after being recaptured more than 120 kilometres away in Germany.

Map of the region, showing the seal's route
The seal, Gaston, who was 12 years old, died as he was being transported back to Prague, where he was to have been re-united with his mate, Julie, and two-month-old son, Melon.

The director of the Prague zoo, Petr Fejk, said his death could have been due to shock, exhaustion, or internal injuries.

Gaston was pursued along his five-day journey down the flooded Vltava and Elbe rivers by animal handlers in helicopters and boats.

He was finally captured just north of Dresden.

Grief

At least three seals took the opportunity to escape last week, when the rising waters of the Vltava river flooded their tank at Prague zoo.

Gaston in makeshift pen
Gaston was held in a makeshift pen
Two of them were soon captured - one, named Myska, was discovered on Sunday near the town of Melnik, some 30km north of Prague.

A fourth seal reportedly stayed in its tank and refused to join the breakout.

But Gaston kept going, and was making rapid progress towards the North Sea.

Prague's zoo lost many animals in the floods, some of which were put down to prevent them drowning or endangering the public.

Zoo keepers have spoken of their grief at having to kill animals they knew and loved.

Current

They were concerned that Gaston would have had difficulties struggling against the powerful current of the swollen rivers.

Kadir the elephant in the Prague zoo, before he was put down
Kadir the elephant was not so lucky
Mr Fejk said after Gaston's death that if he had known about the floods one day earlier, he could have saved all the animals.

Waters from the River Vltava swamped large parts of Prague, forcing thousands to flee their homes - although much of the city's historic centre was spared.

Among the animals that had to be put down were Kadir, an elephant popular with zoo-goers, who became trapped by rising waters and could not be rescued, and a hippopotamus.

But another hippopotamus who went missing, and was feared dead was found alive and well, sheltering in the elephant pavilion as the waters subsided.


European havoc

Germany ravaged

Prague drama

Freak phenomenon?

FORUM

TALKING POINT
See also:

14 Aug 02 | Europe
13 Aug 02 | Business
13 Aug 02 | Entertainment
10 Aug 02 | Europe
09 Aug 02 | Europe
09 Aug 02 | Europe
13 Aug 02 | Europe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes