There is a reason animals in zoos are kept behind enclosures, but a woman at the Berlin Zoo decided to ignore this reasoning and decided to jump into the polar bear pit during feeding time.
The woman, 32, jumped into the pit and began swimming toward the bears. It is thought that perhaps she wanted to get close to Knut, the famous polar bear, who lives at the zoo. "One minute we were all watching the bears because it was feeding time and the next we realized this woman was swimming over to them," says an onlooker from the zoo, "The keepers were running around trying to distract the bears but one of them had noticed her and it was too late. She must have thought it was Knut and that he would be friendly - instead he pounced on her in the water and seemed to grab her neck in his jaws."
There is disturbing video of the attack available at the Mirror's website, wherein the woman is bitten several times by an adult polar bear (not Knut) before being rescued by several zoo workers. She is "severely injured," according to CNN, and is currently at the hospital, recovering.
This story is quite sad and horrifying on several levels: though we don't know why she did it, the fact that the woman willingly placed herself in a potentially deadly situation, with such horrific consequences, may stem from the fact that animals such as polar bears are played up for their "adorableness" and the reality, that these are creatures who do not care to be your giant teddy bear and should be considered quite dangerous when threatened or provoked, gets lost in the cuddly marketing of such things. In any case, I hope she recovers both mentally and physically, and that nothing like this happens again.