Copenhagen Zoo, located in Copenhagen, Denmark, has recently come under intense scrutiny after zoo employees euthanized a healthy giraffe and later fed the remains to the lion population.
The male giraffe, named Marius, was only 18 months old when he was killed by the use of a bolt gun. To put things into perspective, the average life span of a giraffe is 25 years. In response to the act, the director of the zoo, Mr. Bengt Holst, stated that such an event is routine because of high breeding rates in the zoo and the need to curb the populations.
The killing of the otherwise healthy giraffe might not have become global news if zoo worker had not publicly dismembered the deceased giraffe’s body and then fed it to the lions. The public display, performed in front of a large group including young children, included a dissection of Marius with a butcher knife as the various parts were thrown into lion cages.
Sadly, prior to Marius’s death, many animal activists had put together an online petition asking for a delay to the procedure until a sanctuary could be found to house Marius. The petition received over 25,000 signatures in an attempt to save Marius’s life. In the days before the slaughter, several wildlife sanctuaries did in fact reach out to Copenhagen Zoo offering to take in the young giraffe but the zoo denied the offer, preferring to kill Marius instead.
Hopefully, the attention this sad event has received will result in zoos being more cognizant of the need for animals in captivity to be treated in a humane and ethical manner.