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Friday, March 16, 2012

Didn't hear it coming? Earless rabbit destined for stardom dies after being trodden on by cameraman

By Allan Hall

After Paul the Octopus, Knut the polar bear and Heidi the cross-eyed Opossum, the world has been waiting for a new animal celebrity.

Step forward Til, the earless rabbit - who appeared destined for super-stardom, or a few extra carrots at least, when his touching disability was first discovered.

But his brush with fame was cut tragically short when he was accidentally trodden on by a cameraman at a photoshoot.

Gone too soon: Rare earless rabbit Til was destined to become a star in his native Germany, before he was crushed to death during a photoshoot. (Picture shows Til with intern Sophie Hartig at the animal park in Limbach-Oberfrohna, Germany)

Til was born in a small zoo in Limbach-Oberfrohna in Saxony, eastern Germany, three weeks ago. His earlessness was a rarity and he was destined for animal stardom.

He was meant to be presented to the press at a news conference today and was filmed on Wednesday.

But Uwe Dempewolf, the director of the zoo, said: 'During the filming, the cameraman took a step back and trod on the bunny.

'He was immediately dead, he didn’t suffer. It was a direct hit. No one could have foreseen this. Everyone here is upset. The cameraman was distraught and I am completely floored by the whole thing.'

Compare and contrast: Tiny Til (right) pictured a week ago with one of his five siblings. The babies were born in February, and Til was the animal park's star attraction

Til died almost a year after the demise of Germany’s famous orphaned polar bear Knut who suffered a brain haemmorhage and drowned in his enclosure at Berlin Zoo on March 19 2011.

He was named after Til Schweiger, the German hardman actor who co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s wartime romp ‘Inglourious Basterds’.

It remains unclear why he had no ears, but clearly he did not hear the cameraman coming towards him.



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