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Best Zoo Animal to Die in the Past Year 2005 - Churchill

In the end, it wasn't a hunter that brought down Churchill, the Saint Louis Zoo's eighteen-year-old polar bear. It was a fist-size ball of cloth that occluded his lower stomach. Born in Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo, Churchill arrived in St. Louis in 1991, where he proceeded to spend his days sitting on the rocks of "Polar Bear Bluffs" and watching the people watching him. In the days before his death, Churchill -- who perished on the operating table after veterinarians opened him up and discovered the cloth -- was listless and lacked appetite. To this day, his death remains a mystery. How did the cloth get into his living area? At least that's what the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want to know. And they're not alone. So suspect was Churchill's death that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating. In the meantime, the Zoo-going public will have to be satisfied with Hope, the zoo's last remaining polar bear. (Honorable mention: Penny, the nineteen-year-old female polar bear who died a mere five weeks after Churchill.)
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