The Copenhagen Zoo is under fire after culling a perfectly healthy giraffe last week and it has sparked outrage around the world. More than 27,000 people signed an online petition to keep the animal alive and a man offered a private donation of $700,000 to keep the young giraffe alive.
The zoo defends its actions by stating culling the giraffe was usual protocol to prevent inbreeding as the giraffe, named Marius, shared genetic make-up of many of the other giraffes at the zoo. They claimed their actions were necessary to protect the genetic diversity of the species. Reports state that staff at Copenhagen Zoo are receiving death threats from animal activists around the world.
European Association for Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) argues that this is usual protocol to ensure the animal isn’t sold to a circus. Despite offers from other zoos to purchase the animal.
Most alarmingly, the animal was dismembered in a public show and later fed to the lions at Copenhagen Zoo where many young children watched on. This has drawn great attention to the zoo which has previously maintained a record for exceptional animal welfare and conservation. It highlights that culling of perfectly healthy animals of a threatened species is common practice in zoos around the world. And until now, it had occurred without public knowledge.