11/14/99 at 7:00 PM
Love is never easy. Last week Jean Ducuing, a 62-year-old zoo director in Pessac, France, was killed by his favorite pet--a 26-year- old hippopotamus named Komir. Ducuing had taken special care of the hippo, playing with him nearly every day for the past 23 years.But the relationship took a turn for the worse a few weeks ago, when Ducuing purchased a tractor for work around the zoo. "We noticed that every time Jean was on his tractor, Komir would get mad," said Jean-Claude Marchais, a close friend. Feeling spurned, perhaps, the hippo jumped over his electric fence, and chewed his longtime friend to death. Says Marchais, "It was a love story with a bad ending."