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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 17:59 GMT 18:59 UK
Berlin bear's break-out bid fails
Juan the spectacled bear examines a bicycle at Berlin Zoo (Reuters)
Juan's adventure was photographed by visitors to the zoo
A bold amphibious escape bid by a bear at Berlin zoo has been foiled in a dramatic shoot-out.

Juan the Andean spectacled bear first paddled across a moat using a log for a raft, then scaled a wall.

Finally he appeared to commandeer a bicycle, before zookeepers with brooms cornered him, and a colleague picked him off with a tranquiliser gun.

"Just think what could have happened," said a mother who saw the bear escape and head for the children's carousel.

"It went straight for the playground", said Liane Hertrampf to the Berliner Kurier newspaper.

Spectacled bears eat both vegetables and meat but children tend not to be on their menu
Heiner Kloes
Berlin Zoo
Parents grabbed their children and fled as they realised what was happening.

But the zoo's deputy director Heiner Kloes was not so concerned.

"Spectacled bears eat both vegetables and meat but children tend not to be on their menu," he said.

"I'd have been a lot more worried if one of our polar bears had escaped," he added.

He did say, however, that he was "alarmed at how some fathers were too busy filming the bear to check where their children were".

Amateur photographers captured the bear investigating a bicycle and roaming around the playground.

The incident was the second breakout since June, when a gorilla climbed over a fence.

After being stopped with darts from a tranquiliser gun, 110kg (294lb) Juan was carried back to his enclosure.

Mr Kloes told the Berliner Kurier newspaper zoo staff would make sure there were no further logs in the moat to prevent Juan's future bids for freedom.

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