Bison Dies in Russia of Caffeine, Speed Overdose

MOSCOW, January 18 (RIA Novosti) – Shponti, the European bison who died in a wildlife reserve in the Moscow Region, overdosed on caffeine and amphetamine, according to a forensic study a copy of which was obtained by RIA Novosti.

At the time of Shponti’s untimely demise on Jan. 7, media put his death down to poisoning by rotten tomatoes and tangerines.

But an independent examination found unusually high levels of stimulants in the late bison’s kidney.

The dose was enough to cause cardiac arrest in the 1,300-kilogram ungulate, experienced veterinarian Vyacheslav Vasin told RIA Novosti.

But a deliberate attempt on Shponti’s life was unlikely, because amphetamine is very costly, he said.

Shponti likely came across the stimulants by chance, Vasin said. He failed to propose a possible scenario of how it happened.

The results of the official forensic inquiry into Shponti’s death would not be available until mid-February.

Shponti, 15, was a breeding bull imported from Germany. Its mate, female bison Madonna, died on the same day as Shponti, though it remained unclear whether she also overdosed on stimulants.

In October, the wildlife reserve lost another breeding bull, the eight-year-old Multon. The animal broke its jaw under unclear circumstances and had to be shot.


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