The Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark executed a 2-year-old giraffe Sunday in an effort to control inbreeding within the zoo.
Marius, a male giraffe, was reportedly shot in the head and then fed to the lions.
The Danish zoo released an official Q&A statement on their website Sunday, one that explains their decision behind the animal's euthanasia:
“If an animal's genes are well represented in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted. As this giraffe's genes are well represented in the breeding programme and as there is no place for the giraffe in the Zoo's giraffe herd the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes has agreed that Copenhagen Zoo euthanize the giraffe. This is a situation that we know from other group animals that breed well. When breeding success increases it is sometimes necessary to euthanize.” (image)
The controversy leading up to his death prompted online petitions and protests. Even after 20,000 signatures were signed and private offers of nearly $700,000 were sent to save the life of Marius, the zoo decided to take matters into their own hands.
Apparently, local media and protestors gathered outside the zoo's gates during Marius' execution. Families and children were also present during the skinning of the lifeless animal.
Copenhagen's spokesperson, Tobias Stenbaek Bro, said that families were invited to watch the dissection of Marius because it provided a public scientific display on the “anatomy of a giraffe.”
According to reports, the park has stood firm on the notion that they have done the right thing.
"The many reactions don't change our attitude to what we do. It's very important to us that we take responsibility throughout. We need to have as healthy a stock as possible so we avoid inbreeding,” said Bengt Holst, the zoo's scientific director.
Holst further commented that if Marius were a pig rather than a zoo animal, his death wouldn't have caused such uproar.
However, animal rights activists imagine that this event will confirm even more why zoos serve no other purpose but to use animals for a profit.
"It is no secret that animals are killed when there is no longer space, or if the animals don't have genes that are interesting enough," Animal Rights of Sweden told CBS News. "The only way to stop this is to not visit zoos."
Copenhagen Zoo is a member of Amsterdam's European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which consists of more than 300 different zoos.
Despite the number of proposals and offers sent to the zoo, a spokesperson said that under mandatory guidelines the association's members are not permitted to sell their animals, especially since they do not own them.
EAZA has confirmed that they supported the euthanasia of Marius. The association says that the decision made by the park was humane and justifiable.
Image 1 via Youtube
Image 2 & 3 via Youtube