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BEARS EAT DRUNK; Beer festival reveller dies after taking a short cut.

Byline: By Mark Ellis

A DRUNK staggering home from a beer festival took a short cut through a zoo's bear cage - and was found half-eaten next day.

Amazingly, Branko Jovanovic, 22, was still alive when zoo staff discovered him - despite having a leg torn off and half his face chewed away.

But he died later on his way to hospital in Belgrade, Serbia, after keepers battled to prise him from the jaws of the Tibetan black bears.

Zoo director Vuk Bojovic said: "I will never forget what I saw. The bears had taken him to a corner to eat him, and torn off his leg and most of his face, but he was still alive.

"The bears were really aggressive - they obviously regarded him as food and fought to hang on to their meal. It took ages to get them away from him."

Ghoulish visitors have made the two bears - Masha and Misha - an overnight hit with double the usual number of people coming to see them.

Officials now plan to make it harder to get into the bear enclosure - even though the wall Jovanovic climbed was 18ft high.

And they also hit out at the beer festival organisers.

Bojovic said: "We had warned the organisers to stage it further away.

"We have had all sorts of problems from revellers although we did not think anyone would be stupid enough to enter the cage.

"The area where the beer festival takes place is up on a hill while the zoo is downhill, and the bears' cage has no roof so the drinkers were always throwing things in there.

"Keepers have found beer cans, mobile phones and even used condoms in the cage.

"We warned the organisers that they needed to control their guests better.

"We want it moved to a new location far from the zoo next year."


FEARSOME: Tibetan black bear
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Aug 21, 2007
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