Zoo kills giraffe and feeds it to the lions

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Zoo kills giraffe and feeds it to the lions

Do you think the zoo was wrong to kill this giraffe and feed it to the lions even though it had offers from other places that would have taken it in?

Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.

Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.

Marius' plight triggered a wave of online protests and renewed debate about the conditions of zoo animals. Before the giraffe was killed, an online petition to save it had received more than 20,000 signatures.

But the public feeding of Marius' remains to the lions was popular at Copenhagen Zoo. Stenbaek Bro said it allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch what the zoo regards as an important display of scientific knowledge about animals.

"I'm actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn't have had from watching a giraffe in a photo," Stenbaek Bro said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

He said the zoo, which now has seven giraffes left, followed the recommendation of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to put down Marius by because there already were a lot of giraffes with similar genes in the organization's breeding program.

The Amsterdam-based EAZA has 347 members, including many large zoos in European capitals, and works to conserve global biodiversity and achieve the highest standards of care and breeding for animals.

Stenbaek Bro said EAZA membership isn't mandatory, but most responsible zoos are members of the organization.

"I know the giraffe is a nice looking animal, but I don't think there would have been such an outrage if it had been an antelope, and I don't think anyone would have lifted an eyebrow if it was a pig," said Holst.

Full article

Danish Zoo Kills Giraffe to Prevent Inbreeding - ABC News

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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I was heartbroken to read this. :cry: This was absolutely the wrong thing to do. They should have given him to another zoo to help spread his genes around. WTF cares if that zoo is an EAZA member or not?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

I think its wrong that the giraffe was killed unnecessarily since there were offers to transfer him to somewhere else.

Not sure why such a focus on feeding it to the lions thought. Thats silly and sensationalistic. What would they have rather done...just tossed it in a heap somewhere to decompose?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Oh and I completely agree with the guy that people care because it was a giraffe and there are plenty of other animals that would not get such attention.

I suppose I'd have to include myself in that category since I said I think it was wrong.

People are very fickle.

The more I think about it, the less I'm moved. I think it would have been nice and good for their PR to transfer the giraffe...it would have made me happy to see it transferred, but to kill an animal and feed it to a carnivore, what exactly is wrong with that. What do people think the lions have been eating up until this point? Tofu?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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One final thought...only argument i think could be made is one for not supporting zoos in general. When humans involve themselves in the business of keeping animals captive, tough decisions follow.

I think saying "We shouldn't have zoos" is a viable solution...and probably not even a bad one.

ETA: I have done a lot more reading on this issue since this post. I've changed my opinnion.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Feeding the giraffe to the lion just seemed very disrespectful to the giraffe, especially since they did it in front of a group of invited guests. They could have fed him to the lion behind the scenes, or at a later time. The whole thing just smacks of disingenuousness. I don't think the zoo cared about inbreeding because giving him away would have solved that problem. They wanted to feed him to the lion and sell tickets for the privilege of watching, and that was wrong and I'd say the same if they did it to a pig or an antelope. Give the dead some dignity and respect, even in a zoo.

And for the record, my cat does eat tofu but she's weird in other ways, too. Blum 3

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Spacers" wrote:

Feeding the giraffe to the lion just seemed very disrespectful to the giraffe, especially since they did it in front of a group of invited guests.

Oh i totally disagree that this was just a tourist stunt. The explainations are scientifically sound and it simply hightlights one of the problems there is with zoos and successfull wild life breeding programs.

What happened to this giraffe is a real problem with some not so easy answers...not a publicity stunt.

As for doing it in front of a crowd...i think it was probably a poor decision PR wise. I undesrtand that they feel it is a learning experience, and I totally believe that there are plenty of sheltered people out there who don't have a true realization of what it means that one animal eats another, but this wasn't the best way to get its point across.

That doesn't mean I think this is the sole purpose they chose to do this...so they could do it in front of the crowd. I think its wrong to turn a blind eye to a real problem with breeding wild animals in captivity and claim this is just a publicity stunt.

Edited to fix...i started saying one thing because i misunderstood your point and then read the rest and understood it better. But i left the whole thing half baked!

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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"KimPossible" wrote:

One final thought...only argument i think could be made is one for not supporting zoos in general. When humans involve themselves in the business of keeping animals captive, tough decisions follow.

I think saying "We shouldn't have zoos" is a viable solution...and probably not even a bad one.

I disagree. Zoos offer an up-close-and-personal experience that most of us could never get with these animals. I don't think most people "get" just how big an elephant is, how tall a giraffe is, how far a kangaroo can leap, from books & websites. Seeing them in person really does make that impact and, when done properly, can make an impact to help save these animals and their environments in the wild. These animals are endangered because of us humans, but we don't have to **** up the entire planet, we *can* make better choices and help protect wildlife.

And a number of better arguments would be: to swap giraffes with other zoos to prevent inbreeding; to use any number of available birth control methods so you don't end up with unwanted giraffes; to give an unwanted giraffe to another zoo that does want him; and if a situation arises where an animal does need to be put down, to treat that animal with dignity and respect. Lions eat giraffes in the wild, but that doesn't mean that this lion needed to eat this giraffe in front of a paying audience.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
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Shows on National Geographic show tigers killing and eating giraffes and other animals all the time. Isn't that how we learn about nature and the cycle of life? I'm not sure why using the giraffe's death for educational purposes so children could see the anatomy of a giraffe is disrespectful to the giraffe. If the giraffe wasn't fed to the lions some other animal would have been. Actually multiple other animals would have to have been killed to feed the lions in place of one giraffe.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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"Spacers" wrote:

I disagree. Zoos offer an up-close-and-personal experience that most of us could never get with these animals. I don't think most people "get" just how big an elephant is, how tall a giraffe is, how far a kangaroo can leap, from books & websites. Seeing them in person really does make that impact and, when done properly, can make an impact to help save these animals and their environments in the wild. These animals are endangered because of us humans, but we don't have to **** up the entire planet, we *can* make better choices and help protect wildlife.

I understand this as a standard argument...but at what expense does this occur? It would seem we are not willing to accept the expense, especially if seeing the slaughter of an animal and the feeding of it to another is considered shocking and inappropriate. Nature is not cute. In some ways perhaps the public should know that something like this does happen. I mean if people don't like that this happens, is the answer to hide it behind the scenes? Interesting.

I saw someone give an excellent argument against this that rang very true to me. There is a bit of self entitlement to think that we should keep animals captive and in rather unnatural habitats (no matter how hard we try) in order to teach the public to 'love wildlife' Its not like other tools to teach an appreciation for ecosystems and their members don't exist. Is it necessary to see an elephant up close and personal to teach a people that we should be mindful of their existence?

I actually don't think so as not everyone goes to zoos. And like i said its a fickle thing anyway.....to take specific exotic/fascinating animals and prioritize our interest in them over animals that are not so intriguing to human curiosity. I think this supposed environmentalism it generates is minor in the grand scheme of things and certainly not a reason alone to keep zoos open, its way too indirect, and relies too heavily on keeping people intrested in whats cool or cute and fuzzy. Part of the reason people react so poorly to this giraffe being fed to the lions in the first place (not meaning you specifically).

And a number of better arguments would be: to swap giraffes with other zoos to prevent inbreeding;

Well the zoo has to have space and offer, and the ones that did, this zoo gave very specific reasons as to why they did not believe it was a viable option, many of them had to do with scientific reasons, and with the issue of keeping a diversified population as a WHOLE, not just in this zoo. The issue of keeping a diversified genetic population of a species of animal is not confined to the walls of a zoo, this was a decision that was supported by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria

to use any number of available birth control methods so you don't end up with unwanted giraffes;

have you read about these birth control methods? Standard methods require sedation of giraffes, which runs a significant risk of serious neck injury as they fall to the ground. Its not like sedating other animals. Then if the giraffe breaks his neck you have no put him through totally unnecessary stress and a traumatic death (becuase you would have to kill it) then if you had just killed him humanely in the first place. There are ways now to administer conraceptives remotely to a female giraffe but a)This is a new way of doing things and in its infancy and b) this giraffe was a male, i don't think administering contraceptives to all the females its around is a reasonable choice.

to give an unwanted giraffe to another zoo that does want him;

This is the same as one

and if a situation arises where an animal does need to be put down, to treat that animal with dignity and respect. Lions eat giraffes in the wild, but that doesn't mean that this lion needed to eat this giraffe in front of a paying audience.

Well to actually feed the lion in front of people i see nothing at all wrong with it. The act killing the giraffe and preparing it in front of people i could see as an opinionated matter. Some will view it as a learning experience. Others will see this giraffe as something more than that...which again, i really question where that comes from because not all animals are treated with such affection.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Shows on National Geographic show tigers killing and eating giraffes and other animals all the time. Isn't that how we learn about nature and the cycle of life? I'm not sure why using the giraffe's death for educational purposes so children could see the anatomy of a giraffe is disrespectful to the giraffe. If the giraffe wasn't fed to the lions some other animal would have been. Actually multiple other animals would have to have been killed to feed the lions in place of one giraffe.

Its not exactly the same because a lion hunting in the wild is a bit different than having a human slaughter a giraffe, cut it up for him and toss it in his living space, so obviously a lot is lacking for educational purposes. But I think its right for people to know how captive animals do get fed. Its just like the food we eat...sure people know that ham comes from a pig...but few really have an appreciation for what that actually means, and with knowledge comes good decision making.

I mean if people witness this process and are horrified that it happened, maybe thats a good case for not keeping animals captive..

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

This does not bother me. Maybe I am cold or uncaring but I think in the wild giraffe is a meal for Lions, so this was not a huge injustice. Not sure why people watching is so horrible either. At the zoo in the portland area they list feeding times so people can watch the animals eat, it is always very crowded.

I like zoo's, I am not against some animals living in captivity. With the breeding programs that zoos put into place I think they have a real chance of helping some species stay around. We have a wild life sanctuary a few hours from here, they have a highly successful breeding program for cheetahs. I think they have increased the number of cheetahs left in the world substantially (last time we were there I had a loud toddler in a sling so I didnt hear exact numbers) and they do release them back into the wild.

KimPossible's picture
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"mom3girls" wrote:

I like zoo's, I am not against some animals living in captivity. With the breeding programs that zoos put into place I think they have a real chance of helping some species stay around.

Only in captivity too. Animals raised in zoos really do not make viable candidates to be released to the wild. I don't see zoos as great contributors to animal preservation, if they are only preserving them to keep in zoos.

We have a wild life sanctuary a few hours from here, they have a highly successful breeding program for cheetahs. I think they have increased the number of cheetahs left in the world substantially (last time we were there I had a loud toddler in a sling so I didnt hear exact numbers) and they do release them back into the wild.

Breeding in captivity, and releasing into the wild is not effective unless you address the under lying cause of their endangerment in the first place, and the reason is pretty much never "because there weren't enough humans breeding them in captivity". One could make an argument that a temporary re breeding program would be helpful if you know you have recreated a hospitable environment to release them into. But I dont' think that makes a good argument for consistently keeping animals in captivity outside of that situation.

I would also think to be successful, the interaction with humans would be minimal. I'm not saying there aren't things that humans can do to regenerate a population that would survive in the wild, i simply don't think putting captive animals on display is ever part of that equation.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
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"KimPossible" wrote:

I think saying "We shouldn't have zoos" is a viable solution...and probably not even a bad one.

I had to re read this a few times thinking it must have been a typo. We love going to the zoo. In a little over a year for a zoology study for my girls we have went to the Erie PA zoo, the National Zoo in DC, The Atlanta Zoo, Animal Kingdom in Fla, and our local zoo on a weekly basis. It is a great educational tool for my children. Also, many of the animals at zoo's can not live in the wild for various reasons. For example, twin cougars were found after there mother was somehow killed. Those cougars would have died in the wild. They were brought to are zoo and are being taken care of. An owl was found with only one wing and badly damaged. In the wild it would have died. In our zoo it is being taken care of. Our local zoo's do great work of rescuing animals that would otherwise not survive. They also belong to an organisation that trades animals with other zoos to make sure that there are no in breading problems. Our local zoo has camps, field trips, and educational story times. Every Tuesday morning that take one educational animal out and read a story to the children then teach about the animal. This past week they brought out baby foxes. My girls were able to see and pet the baby fox. That was a great experience for our children. They also take some of the money they make and put it back into the animals natural habitat. There are always signs and places to donate at the zoo for different projects that they have going for particular forests or jungles.

I am sure as in all things there are some places that are corrupt. That is not to say that all zoos are corrupt and should not be allowed. As for killing a giraffe, I am sure there are many zoos that would have been willing and glad to take it and that would have been a better option. If the giraffe had died naturally, I would not have had a problem with them feeding the lion privately, but I think it was disrespectful to do it so publicly. We do think of giraffes differently. Would you be ok with feeding a lion a beloved cat or dog in front of your kids? I doubt it. It is the same idea with giraffes.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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I'm sorry but I fail to understand what kind of educational quality there was for those students, that they couldn't have gotten from a book or website. Denmark banned frog dissection in schools, so why is it OK for those same kids to watch a giraffe dissection? That's rather hypocritical IMHO. And most of them probably couldn't even see what was happening very well, judging from the photos I've seen.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

I'm sorry but I fail to understand what kind of educational quality there was for those students, that they couldn't have gotten from a book or website. Denmark banned frog dissection in schools, so why is it OK for those same kids to watch a giraffe dissection? That's rather hypocritical IMHO. And most of them probably couldn't even see what was happening very well, judging from the photos I've seen.

Just to clarify, do you mean it is not educational to go to/have zoos, or do you mean it was not education to feed a giraffe to a lion in front of children?

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Just to clarify, do you mean it is not educational to go to/have zoos, or do you mean it was not education to feed a giraffe to a lion in front of children?

I don't believe that watching the dissection of the giraffe or the feeding of the giraffe to the lion was educational. At least no more educational than studing giraffe biology in a book or on a website, or watching the lion be fed a dead rabbit or chicken. The photos showed a pretty big chunk of him that the lion was gnawing on, so it seems they didn't "dissect" him that much anyway. And the fact that the "visitors" to the zoo for this occasion paid a premium for the privilege of watching this, in a country that has banned frog dissection for crying out loud, it just screams of hypocrisy and greed and... something like selling out... that's not the word I'm looking for but my brain is done for today.

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
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I am not sure the biology lesson was in the dissection of the giraffe, but more in the reason behind the killing and then the lion eating food that is similar to what he/she would eat in the wild

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"mom3girls" wrote:

I am not sure the biology lesson was in the dissection of the giraffe, but more in the reason behind the killing and then the lion eating food that is similar to what he/she would eat in the wild

It still would be similar to feeding them a cat or dog. Not acceptable to do in front of children or for sport in my opinion.

Minx_Kristi's picture
Joined: 01/02/09
Posts: 1261

I honestly, don't really have an opinion about this as it hasn't affected my life.

I will say though, I think Zoos should be done away with. They're an accident waiting to happen.

xx

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I had to re read this a few times thinking it must have been a typo. We love going to the zoo. In a little over a year for a zoology study for my girls we have went to the Erie PA zoo, the National Zoo in DC, The Atlanta Zoo, Animal Kingdom in Fla, and our local zoo on a weekly basis. It is a great educational tool for my children. Also, many of the animals at zoo's can not live in the wild for various reasons. For example, twin cougars were found after there mother was somehow killed. Those cougars would have died in the wild. They were brought to are zoo and are being taken care of. An owl was found with only one wing and badly damaged. In the wild it would have died. In our zoo it is being taken care of. Our local zoo's do great work of rescuing animals that would otherwise not survive. They also belong to an organisation that trades animals with other zoos to make sure that there are no in breading problems. Our local zoo has camps, field trips, and educational story times. Every Tuesday morning that take one educational animal out and read a story to the children then teach about the animal. This past week they brought out baby foxes. My girls were able to see and pet the baby fox. That was a great experience for our children. They also take some of the money they make and put it back into the animals natural habitat. There are always signs and places to donate at the zoo for different projects that they have going for particular forests or jungles.

I am not saying that zoos cannot be educational or fun...i'm not saying they don't provide exciting experiences. What I am saying is if people don't like the realities of what problems arise because of their existence, then they should not be in support of them. And I don't think there would be any huge loss if they did not exist, at least in the form that we have them now. Perhaps there are better ways to create a business plan that is not so oriented on public display to rake in the money.

As for the educational experience...yep, its wonderful. But is it necessary? I'd say no. Thats why its a question of priorities. If someone takes issue with this giraffe being euthanized...but then goes to Animal Kindgom during their trip to Disney, welllllll. Thats hypocritical to me.

I am sure as in all things there are some places that are corrupt. That is not to say that all zoos are corrupt and should not be allowed.

This has nothing to do with corruption. This has to do with a successful captive breeding program and the inability to keep ALLL the animals. The ones that provide the most benefit to the gene pool are kept, and ones like this little guy are not. If it were not him, it would be someone else. This has to do with science and knowing what is best for the pool of giraffes living in captivity as a whole.

As for killing a giraffe, I am sure there are many zoos that would have been willing and glad to take it and that would have been a better option.

There were not many. There were some. Some did not promise that they would not sell it off to another place, like a circus or less reputable park. THey were decided against. Others contained family members of the same gene pool as this giraffe. It was the same issue and decided that it was NOT in the best interest of the pool of captive giraffes as a whole to keep him there. Neutering of male giraffes is risky and can lead to severe trauma which would require euthanization.

If the giraffe had died naturally, I would not have had a problem with them feeding the lion privately, but I think it was disrespectful to do it so publicly. We do think of giraffes differently. Would you be ok with feeding a lion a beloved cat or dog in front of your kids? I doubt it. It is the same idea with giraffes.

Its arbitrary to treat a giraffe or a dog or cat differently, or presume that because people 'love giraffes' that they should not be euthanized when they are a hinderence to a human created breeding program and problematic situation. I mean you can choose to put that emotional investment into these animals....but to expect biologists and people who are going to be running these places that you just praised so much to disregard what is best to provide the best enviroment they can for these giraffes for years to come....in favor of a socially constructed affinity? I think thats wrong.

If you like these places, let these people do their jobs. Also no one was forced to go and watch, so if you are horrified by it, then don't go.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"Spacers" wrote:

I don't believe that watching the dissection of the giraffe or the feeding of the giraffe to the lion was educational. At least no more educational than studing giraffe biology in a book or on a website, or watching the lion be fed a dead rabbit or chicken. The photos showed a pretty big chunk of him that the lion was gnawing on, so it seems they didn't "dissect" him that much anyway. And the fact that the "visitors" to the zoo for this occasion paid a premium for the privilege of watching this, in a country that has banned frog dissection for crying out loud, it just screams of hypocrisy and greed and... something like selling out... that's not the word I'm looking for but my brain is done for today.

It is in the realization of what it takes to manage a zoo and what it actually means that one animal eats another. I wholeheartedly believe that humans are ridiculously far removed away from the animal food chain, both their own and what it means for other animals as well. If we are going to love zoos, then let the public know up front and personal what it means to run a zoo.

I see a huge double standard here. We think that people need to see animals in person to admire them face to face and get a great 'educational experience'....but then learning about the underbelly or less pleasant parts of captive wildlife management, we can just 'hear about it' from books and websites. What went on there was not some sort of freak show....it was a captive wildlife management decision.

Maybe its just that people don't want to face the fact that managing wildlife in captivity is an ugly business with tough decisions that challenge our ethical fiber. I mean if we don't expose anyone to it....we can just keep enjoying all the fun and pretty animals face to face without feeling bad about it.

ETA: Forgot to address the frog dissection thing. I don't think that has anything to do with this at all. This animal was going to die anyway. And letting people watch was not meant to be an anatomy lesson.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

I stand corrected

here is the statement from the zoo, it mainly was meant to be an anatomy lesson

http://www.zoo.dk/BesogZoo/Nyhedsarkiv/2014/Februar/Why%20Copenhagen%20Zoo%20euthanized%20a%20giraffe.aspx

Anywho, i don't see how this conflicts with their policy on school dissection. If i understand correctly, that is due to the supply industry for school dissection, not because they are ethically opposed to children seeing the anatomy of an animal. So this seems to be a rare opoprtunity to actually get to see the anatomy lesson in person, only con would be the poor visibility for those not upfront. Is in person important or not? I don't know...people seem to think its important to see them not dissected in person and that tv or computers isn't enough, so i'm not sure why that doesn't apply in this situation too.

I also still maintain that it is an excellent lesson in wildlife management...so that people can better decide how okay they really are with the concept of zoos, instead of hiding it away for no one to really realize.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"KimPossible" wrote:

I am not saying that zoos cannot be educational or fun...i'm not saying they don't provide exciting experiences. What I am saying is if people don't like the realities of what problems arise because of their existence, then they should not be in support of them. And I don't think there would be any huge loss if they did not exist, at least in the form that we have them now. Perhaps there are better ways to create a business plan that is not so oriented on public display to rake in the money.

As for the educational experience...yep, its wonderful. But is it necessary? I'd say no. Thats why its a question of priorities. If someone takes issue with this giraffe being euthanized...but then goes to Animal Kindgom during their trip to Disney, welllllll. Thats hypocritical to me.

This has nothing to do with corruption. This has to do with a successful captive breeding program and the inability to keep ALLL the animals. The ones that provide the most benefit to the gene pool are kept, and ones like this little guy are not. If it were not him, it would be someone else. This has to do with science and knowing what is best for the pool of giraffes living in captivity as a whole.

There were not many. There were some. Some did not promise that they would not sell it off to another place, like a circus or less reputable park. THey were decided against. Others contained family members of the same gene pool as this giraffe. It was the same issue and decided that it was NOT in the best interest of the pool of captive giraffes as a whole to keep him there. Neutering of male giraffes is risky and can lead to severe trauma which would require euthanization.

Its arbitrary to treat a giraffe or a dog or cat differently, or presume that because people 'love giraffes' that they should not be euthanized when they are a hinderence to a human created breeding program and problematic situation. I mean you can choose to put that emotional investment into these animals....but to expect biologists and people who are going to be running these places that you just praised so much to disregard what is best to provide the best enviroment they can for these giraffes for years to come....in favor of a socially constructed affinity? I think thats wrong.

If you like these places, let these people do their jobs. Also no one was forced to go and watch, so if you are horrified by it, then don't go.

I did not say that it was wrong to euthanize a giraffe it was necessary. And we do put down cats and dogs. I was saying it was not necessary to do it in the manor they did and then feed it to the lions publicly. At our zoo if they have an animal they do not want to breed, they separate them. I do think they could have found another place for the giraffe.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I did not say that it was wrong to euthanize a giraffe it was necessary. And we do put down cats and dogs. I was saying it was not necessary to do it in the manor they did and then feed it to the lions publicly. At our zoo if they have an animal they do not want to breed, they separate them. I do think they could have found another place for the giraffe.

You think they could have found another place....exactly what is that based on. Your gut?

As for the manor they did it in...they tried to make it as purposeful as one could. They provided an educational lesson to those who wanted it and they fed it to one of its natural predators.

To do nothing at all with it would have been far more disrespectful. It would be no better than trophy hunting.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

Read the OP. The Copenhagen Zoo had offers from other zoos. They chose not to accept them.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

I shouldn't have bothered trying to bold anything...its all pertinent and valuable information. I don't agree with the outrage. Its overly simplistic to think they should have just moved this giraffe around. This to me is an issue of people not realizing what it takes to get something they like. And thats fine if you like them....but please, lets not pretend that its all hearts and rainbows. (Hey zoos are fun! I've been to a few zoos over the course of my life time!) When a zoo decides not to hide from you what they have to do to to be responsible about the species they have taken in, at the very least learn about the why's before we decide to fly off the handle.

Marius The Giraffe Not The Only Animal Culled By Zoos | TIME.com

The killing of Marius the giraffe at a zoo in Copenhagen surprised many people around the world ? and shocked quite a few ? but it was no isolated incident. Also put down by European zoos in the name of genetic diversity in recent years: Zebra, antelopes, bison, pygmy hippos, and tiny Red River hog piglets.

Although zoo officials may not publicize the fact, culling is often a normal part of a zoo?s breeding program and conservation efforts. But as those breeding programs become more successful ? especially with popular animals like giraffes ? euthanasia is also becoming more controversial.

?As a conservation organization, we realize that there?s a crisis in the natural world, and that we have an obligation to protect species in the wild from human actions,? says David Williams-Mitchell, communications and membership manager for the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). ?One of the ways we do that is through breeding programs. But we have limited space within EAZA to carry out that, and we need to prioritize animals that can contribute to future of the species.?

The killing of animals under the protection of zoos is the ironic price of success: a zoo whose breeding program manages to produce enough healthy offspring may find itself having to put down some of those individuals in order to make room for species in greater danger of extinction. Zoos, after all, only have so much space. ?You have to understand that zoos today are in a position to go deeper into conservation,? says Friederike von Houwald, curator of Switzerland?s Zoo Basel. ?We can very precisely identify not just an entire species, but a particular line of species that needs protection.?

Marius was not from one of those lines and that sealed his fate. But he is hardly alone. Although considered a last resort (?we don?t do it even once a year,? says von Houwald of her zoo), euthanasia is a regular tool for biodiversity and population management in many European zoos. In the past few years, river hog piglets, pygmy hippos, tigers, antelopes, bison, and zebra have all been put down in European zoos for biodiversity reasons. Although EAZA has figures from recent years, it does not release them because of their sensitivity. ?We?re not ashamed of euthanizing animals,? says Williams-Mitchell. ?But we don?t want to publicize it either. ?

Although Marius was the first giraffe to be put down at the Copenhagen zoo, members of other much-loved species have been euthanized. In the spring of 2012, the zoo put down, via lethal injection, two leopard cubs whose genetics were over-represented. ?We cull antelopes and wild boar at the zoo every year for the same reason,? says Bengt Holst, the zoo?s scientific director. ?I don?t understand the outrage.?

But as breeding programs meet ever greater success, outrage is increasingly the reaction to these policies, especially when the animal being put down is popular or especially adorable. In 2010, the decision by officials at Edinburgh zoo to put down two hog piglets named Sammi and Becca sparked protests. That same year, a court in Germany ruled that the Magdeburg zoo director and three workers were guilty of violating animal rights law for putting down three tiger cubs. Marius? death also provoked ire from animal rights organizations and social media exploded in rage and sadness, as people around the world criticized the zoo for callously disregarding the animal?s welfare. Nearly 30,000 people signed an online petition asking that the young giraffe?s life be spared.

Yet zoo experts maintain that euthanasia ? even of a healthy animal ? is frequently the most responsible course. Neutering and contraception prevent the animal from performing behaviors that are critical to its sense of well-being ? namely reproduction and parenting. And even separating males and females for a length of time can have unpredictable outcomes: rhinos who have been prevented from mating for a few years have not been able to reproduce once the males and females were reunited.

Other alternatives are similarly problematic. ?Releasing a giraffe that had spent his entire life in captivity into the wild would have been a death sentence,? says Williams-Mitchell. ?It may sound counter-intuitive; why not let the giraffe take its chances? But it seems needlessly cruel to ship an animal thousands of miles, only to release it to what is the same outcome it would have at home.?

Nor does space in another zoo necessarily equal a solution. In Marius? case, one of the zoos that offered was rejected because, as a member of EAZA, it faced the same genetic over-representation as Copenhagen. Another was not an EAZA member, which is a problem in its own right: there was no guarantee that the new zoo complies with animal welfare standards. That same problem applies to individuals who have offered to help, including the anonymous person who offered 50,000 euros for Marius.

?We had the same thing happen with one of our zebras a few years ago that we planned to euthanize because of overrepresentation,? says von Houwald. ?Someone wrote to say, ?I can take the zebra because I have room in my horse stable. But as a zoo you have a huge responsibility to make sure this living creature is properly cared for. A zebra isn?t the same as a horse.?

That zebra, like Marius, became lion food. Another thing many people don?t realize about zoos: most euthanize animals regularly for meat to feed their carnivores.

One of the things distinguished Marius? case was the Copenhagen zoo?s openness about it. Although the giraffe was anesthetized and shot in a private area of the zoo, his autopsy was held outdoors, in an area specially opened for visitors who wished to observe the procedure. Although some critics saw this as further evidence of a lack of empathy, the zoo itself has said it was important to opt for transparency.

That?s a sentiment with which EAZA agrees. ?[The euthanasia] is a reminder of the cost of human actions,? says Williams-Mitchell. ?The reason that zoos have to protect species in the first place is only partly due to poaching and illegal trade. It is also because of climate change and the wholesale pillaging of these animals? natural habitat. Until people start to take responsibility for their actions and their lifestyle decisions, scientists who want to protect animals like Marius will continue to have to make hard decisions.?

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"Spacers" wrote:

Read the OP. The Copenhagen Zoo had offers from other zoos. They chose not to accept them.

Read WHY...the original article is sorely lacking in information. And you must have skipped a lot in between the last time you read this thread and that post of mine you responded to because I already talked about their offers.

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I do get that sometimes extra animals need to be culled. I do get that this giraffe's genes are over-represented in EAZA zoos. But rather than let this giraffe out of the EAZA breeding program and into another well-respected zoo that didn't have a giraffe with his genes, they killed him. And that's what I don't get. He wasn't "extra" and he wasn't "over-represented." He was simply not in the right place, and that isn't a good reason to kill him.

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"Spacers" wrote:

I do get that sometimes extra animals need to be culled. I do get that this giraffe's genes are over-represented in EAZA zoos. But rather than let this giraffe out of the EAZA breeding program and into another well-respected zoo that didn't have a giraffe with his genes, they killed him. And that's what I don't get. He wasn't "extra" and he wasn't "over-represented." He was simply not in the right place, and that isn't a good reason to kill him.

He absolutely was extra and over represented. The reason they do not go out of the EAZA program is explained in my link above from the zoo itself.

If you get that sometimes animals need to be euthanized in unique situations, then at most, you could possibly disagree with their belief that it is important to stick to the EAZA rules. This means that they are trying to make a responsible decision, not some careless and flippant money making scheme...one that you might disagree with but that they fully believe is important when it comes to captive wildlife management, the actual business that they are in every day.

To disagree with their attempt to make what they believe is a decision about responsibility is one thing. To be outraged (which seems to be what the media is reporting...and encouraging I'd say) by their best attempts to run their business mindfully is another.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

You think they could have found another place....exactly what is that based on. Your gut?

As for the manor they did it in...they tried to make it as purposeful as one could. They provided an educational lesson to those who wanted it and they fed it to one of its natural predators.

To do nothing at all with it would have been far more disrespectful. It would be no better than trophy hunting.

The OP stated that there are other zoos that would have taken the giraffe. Our zoo is on a waiting list to get a giraffe. If the zoo died naturally or because there was a good reason I would not have a problem with it being fed to the lion in a more discrete way.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

The OP stated that there are other zoos that would have taken the giraffe. Our zoo is on a waiting list to get a giraffe. If the zoo died naturally or because there was a good reason I would not have a problem with it being fed to the lion in a more discrete way.

I can't make you read the details i provided. The reasons those offers were passed over were addressed in several of the things i linked to and i stated them myself.

And as the last article highlights very well....this is not that unique of a situation. This is the kind of stuff that happens in zoos. And i guarantee you that that hardly anything those lions eat on a regular basis died of natural causes...just like pretty much nothing you eat dies of natural causes. You can have more personal affection towards some animals more than others, but intrinsically i don't think you can argue it is deserving of something that another animal isn't.

Either you are okay with the circle of life and the killing of animals to feed other animals or you aren't. *shrug*

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The reasons those offers were passed over are bogus. The EAZA isn't the only zoological membership group that doesn't allow zoos to sell animals to collectors or circuses, and to say that the zoos in Sweden or Dublin would do so is just bogus. PETA is claiming that the Swedish zoo says it never said it couldn't promise that the giraffe would never be sold. The Dublin Zoo says it wasn't even offered the giraffe & only found out from the outrage about it, which debunks Copenhagen's claim that it looked at all European zoos. Neither of those zoos have a giraffe with the same genetics as Marius. Yes, the Yorkshire zoo already has a giraffe that does match Marius, but it has space available, it was willing to take Marius, and it has the capacity to keep the two genetically similar giraffes separate. The argument that placing Marius there *might* have led the Yorkshire zoo to be in the same position later is bogus. One of its own giraffes might have died in the meantime. Or maybe by then another zoo would have space for Marius or the other giraffe. We don't know what might have happened but in either of those scenarios Marius would have more years of a decent life.

This whole situation seems to me like a bunch of toddlers fighting over a toy, and when one is told he can't play with it, he'd rather break it than let another toddler play with it.

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"KimPossible" wrote:

And as the last article highlights very well....this is not that unique of a situation. This is the kind of stuff that happens in zoos. And i guarantee you that that hardly anything those lions eat on a regular basis died of natural causes...just like pretty much nothing you eat dies of natural causes. You can have more personal affection towards some animals more than others, but intrinsically i don't think you can argue it is deserving of something that another animal isn't.

Either you are okay with the circle of life and the killing of animals to feed other animals or you aren't. *shrug*

I do not have a problem with animals eating animals. I do have a problem with it being done in the way it was done.

Can I ask, are you ok with eating cat, dog, or horse? Would you be ok with it being fed to another animal for sport or to raise tickets? That is just not on the same level to me as an animal that is killed for meat and delivered already looking like meat.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not have a problem with animals eating animals. I do have a problem with it being done in the way it was done.

Can I ask, are you ok with eating cat, dog, or horse? Would you be ok with it being fed to another animal for sport or to raise tickets? That is just not on the same level to me as an animal that is killed for meat and delivered already looking like meat.

Isn't that pretty much what is done on National Geographic? You pay for the channel so you are basically paying to watch animals kill and eat each other. I guess you must not let your kids watch wildlife shows. I just don't get why it is any different that it actually looks like a piece of giraffe when they eat it. It is not a pet it a wild animal. That is what wild animals eat. I'm pretty sure they didn't force anyone to watch them eat.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Isn't that pretty much what is done on National Geographic? You pay for the channel so you are basically paying to watch animals kill and eat each other. I guess you must not let your kids watch wildlife shows. I just don't get why it is any different that it actually looks like a piece of giraffe when they eat it. It is not a pet it a wild animal. That is what wild animals eat. I'm pretty sure they didn't force anyone to watch them eat.

It just rubs me wrong. Like **** fighting or bull dog fighting. Selling tickets to see animals mutilate each other.

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"Spacers" wrote:

The reasons those offers were passed over are bogus. The EAZA isn't the only zoological membership group that doesn't allow zoos to sell animals to collectors or circuses and to say that the zoos in Sweden or Dublin would do so is just bogus.

The EAZA's requirements are a lot more than just not promising to resell.

PETA is claiming that the Swedish zoo says it never said it couldn't promise that the giraffe would never be sold.

Sorry, but i do not regard PETA as a reliable and objective source of any information. You do? Interestingly enough, they disagree with the concept of zoos in general. While i don't think they are a reputable organization, i think they might be on to something when it comes to that point.

The Dublin Zoo says it wasn't even offered the giraffe & only found out from the outrage about it, which debunks Copenhagen's claim that it looked at all European zoos.

I only saw an article said that Dublin Zoo was disappointed in the decision because there were other offers, i saw nothing indicating that the zoo would have actually taken the animal. Did it ever occur to you that Copenhagen made a personal assessment that this zoo would not have worked? They are under no obligation to contact the zoo first to see if they agree.

Regardless the point as a whole is that the EAZA has certain guidelines in place, and if they are not met then going against them undermines the goals of the organization as a whole.

Yes, the Yorkshire zoo already has a giraffe that does match Marius, but it has space available, it was willing to take Marius, and it has the capacity to keep the two genetically similar giraffes separate. The argument that placing Marius there *might* have led the Yorkshire zoo to be in the same position later is bogus.

They would have had to put him in an all male herd. Which means no sex, no natural mating rituals of any sort. Easy peasy to say thats a fine choice. This is not a mature male passed its prime, its a child with its whole life ahead of him. Imagine if someone sequestered you in an already unnatural environment and then also told you you could never have sex and on top of that you lack the intelligence to understand this depravity or mental ability to replace that emptiness with something else.

One of its own giraffes might have died in the meantime.

Why would you not assume that they did not assess the likelihood of this happening. Considering space and resources is something that zoos face all the time...i think its rather flippant or naive to assume that they could just keep it around for a while longer to see if someone else dies.

Or maybe by then another zoo would have space for Marius or the other giraffe. We don't know what might have happened but in either of those scenarios Marius would have more years of a decent life.

The already know the status of the breeding program they belong to. They know there is no genetically viable position for him withing the program.

This whole situation seems to me like a bunch of toddlers fighting over a toy, and when one is told he can't play with it, he'd rather break it than let another toddler play with it.

Like I said I think its one thing to simply disagree with their beliefs in upholding the policies and beliefs of the organization they are committed to. I think its totally wrong to act like they were being completely thoughtless in their decision or acting outraged.

And everyone is totally ignoring that this happens all the time. You may like to think that this incident is different, but like the article i linked to states, animals are culled all the time for these very reasons.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

It just rubs me wrong. Like **** fighting or bull dog fighting. Selling tickets to see animals mutilate each other.

They didn't sell tickets to watch the tigers eat. They sold tickets to get into the zoo. Then they let the people who had already paid to get into the zoo watch them feed the tigers. They didn't force them to watch. They feed them every day this is no different. It sounds like it is routine to feed them deer and antelope. That is probably better for the tigers to eat them in chunks because it is more like how they eat in the wild. It's strange when we went to Sea World they had a dolphin tank where you could pay to buy whole little fish and feed them to the dolphins. No one was horrified because we were feeding other fish to the dolphins and watching them eat them. Weird.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

They didn't sell tickets to watch the tigers eat. They sold tickets to get into the zoo. Then they let the people who had already paid to get into the zoo watch them feed the tigers. They didn't force them to watch. They feed them every day this is no different. It sounds like it is routine to feed them deer and antelope. That is probably better for the tigers to eat them in chunks because it is more like how they eat in the wild. It's strange when we went to Sea World they had a dolphin tank where you could pay to buy whole little fish and feed them to the dolphins. No one was horrified because we were feeding other fish to the dolphins and watching them eat them. Weird.

I could be misunderstanding, but I was thinking this was a special event with separate tickets.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I could be misunderstanding, but I was thinking this was a special event with separate tickets.

That was my understanding, also, that watching the giraffe "dissection" and tiger feeding was a separate admission. On the radio news, the Copenhagen Zoo guy who was defending (trying to anyway....) what they did, referred to ticketholders.

ETA: Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo, the San Diego Zoo and the American Association of Zoo Keepers have all issued statements denouncing the slaughter of Marius. The worldwide Association of Zoos and Aquariums issued a neutral statement saying its “programs and procedures” aren’t the same as the EAZA.
http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/16516547-conservation-ethics-jack-hanna-lambasts-zoo-for-butchering-giraffe-in-front-of-kids

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I do not have a problem with animals eating animals. I do have a problem with it being done in the way it was done.

Because people saw it being eaten? You do realize that people watch them eating every day. Or do you mean people who wanted an anatomy lesson got an anatomy lesson? Mind you he wasn't killed for the anatomy lesson.

I get that it can be upsetting to some...but i don't buy any of the arguments that its actually wrong for people to witness a giraffe being eaten by a lion, or that its wrong for people to learn about the anatomy of the giraffe with a real life example that was going to be shot and killed anyway.

Can I ask, are you ok with eating cat, dog, or horse?

I would think it would be wrong for someones own personal beloved pet to be taken away and eaten nor would an individual want to eat their own pet. Do i think that cats and dogs and horses are somehow sacred and superior to other types of animals and should be forbidden to eat world wide? No. Our affinity for them is a social construct.

Would you be ok with it being fed to another animal for sport or to raise tickets?

If it was killed soley for the purpose of turning it into a public event, yes i would have a problem with that. This is not what happened. This giraffe was going to die anyway...like all the other animals zoos cull and never tell you about.

That is just not on the same level to me as an animal that is killed for meat and delivered already looking like meat.

I have a serious problem with the latter part of your sentence. There is nothing wrong with witnessing the transformation of our animals into food for consumption. NOTHING. The only reason it makes people squeamish is because they are underexposed to the process culturally speaking. It is a part of the natural order of things and does NOT need to be 'hidden' from sight...its simply that it usually is.

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I haven't seen anywhere that this was a separate admission, every article I read just mentioned zoo "visitors".

About 15 people gathered outside the zoo when it opened this morning to protest the giraffe’s death. After he was killed, technicians performed an autopsy for research purposes that was open to the public before breaking down the body to be served to its carnivores. Although the operation lasted for well over three hours, Holst said, many parents and their children stayed and watched the whole thing. Their fascination with learning about giraffe anatomy — how big the animals’ hearts are, or how they have the exact number of vertebrae in their long necks as humans do in their short ones — reinforces his sense that the zoo acted properly.

Read more: Danish Zoo Kills Healthy Giraffe and Feeds It to Tigers | TIME.com Danish Zoo Kills Healthy Giraffe and Feeds It to Tigers | TIME.com

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"Spacers" wrote:

That was my understanding, also, that watching the giraffe "dissection" and tiger feeding was a separate admission. On the radio news, the Copenhagen Zoo guy who was defending (trying to anyway....) what they did, referred to ticketholders.

ETA: Jack Hanna of the Columbus Zoo, the San Diego Zoo and the American Association of Zoo Keepers have all issued statements denouncing the slaughter of Marius. The worldwide Association of Zoos and Aquariums issued a neutral statement saying its ?programs and procedures? aren?t the same as the EAZA.
Conservation ethics: Jack Hanna lambasts zoo for butchering giraffe in front of kids

Is this meant to be convincing evidence that it was wrong? Or are you just trying to list the people who agree with you...although neutral doesn't mean they agree with you for the last one.

Of course there will be disagreement on the EAZA's policies. I don't really think that matters. I'm not saying people can't disagree with policy, its this extreme outrage that is being circulated because a)Its been going on for a long time, its not new and b)alot of the outrage is exaggerated due to a large lack of understanding since people don't try to understand the situation first and c)this portrayal of them as doing it for some fun freak show or like they are careless is just unfounded.

I think they are trying to be responsible...they just don't agree with some others on what being responsible entails.

As for Jack Hanna, i already told someone else on FB i would never use Jack Hanna as a reputable source for this type of issue. He is an extremely public figure whos reputation and success hangs way too much upon his public image, particularly here in the US.

But I'm not surprised that this happens. This type of story invokes a very emotional response, its not a happy story.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

I haven't seen anywhere that this was a separate admission, every article I read just mentioned zoo "visitors".

Read more: Danish Zoo Kills Healthy Giraffe and Feeds It to Tigers | TIME.com Danish Zoo Kills Healthy Giraffe and Feeds It to Tigers | TIME.com

I haven't seen anythign about that either. I read that it was open to the public, but obviously you had to pay the price of admission to the zoo. It was held in a remote part of the park where you would have had to deliberately go to see it if you wanted to and early in the morning when the park wouldn't be full.

In other words, you had to purposely seek it out if you wanted to partake....it was rather private with the option open to the public who actually wanted to be there.

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Also, lets remember as part of their policy they believe it is important for these animals to be able to reproduce naturally in regards to quality of life, unhindered as reproduction and parenting are an integral part to any wildlife existence. They are already in a limited environment and this is one of the vital ways to help maintain a higher quality of existence while they are alive.

So of course its simple to say "Well why don't they stop breeding them", but no one acknowledges while saying that, that that too comes with an ethical decision of its own.

Maybe some might say "Well a lifetime existence with no sex/parenting, or maybe highly controlled sex and parenting with the stresses of humans overseeing the process and forcing certain matchups is far better than having to shoot down the occasional animal in an entire breeding program (per breed, the rates of this are not very high)."

And others will say "A quality life of natural breeding unhindered for all of the animals provides a happier existences for those individuals and is worth the expense of a single young male on occasion, especially since in the wild these deaths to young healthy members would naturally occur anyway due to predators"

Neither of those are careless or horrifying opinions. Both are mindful and attempts to be responsible.

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I know I'm the only interested in talking about this still, but just want to drive home the point. This situation was not unique

2nd Danish giraffe named Marius may be put down

Jyllands Park Zoo in Denmark might put down its 7-year-old Marius if the zoo manages to acquire a female giraffe, which is likely, the zoo keeper said.

COPENHAGEN ? The Danish Jyllands Park Zoo said on Wednesday it might put down one of its giraffes, which by coincidence is also named Marius, just as the giraffe Copenhagen Zoo slaughtered on Sunday to the disgust of animal lovers around the world, according to Danish news agency Ritzau.

Staff at Copenhagen Zoo have received death threats after the zoo killed the 18-month-old healthy male giraffe because the animal's genes were already well represented in an international breeding program that aims to maintain a healthy giraffe population in European zoos.

Related: Zoo staff get death threats after giraffe killing

Jyllands Park Zoo in western Denmark might put down its 7-year-old Marius if the zoo manages to acquire a female giraffe, which is most likely, zoo keeper Janni Lojtved Poulsen told Ritzau. The zoo also has a younger male called Elmer.

"We can't have two males and one female. Then there will be fights," Poulsen said.

She said that it might be possible to find another place for the giraffe to live, but that the probability is small. Like its namesake in Copenhagen, Jyllands Park Zoo's

Marius is considered unsuitable for breeding.

"If the breeding program coordinator decides that he should be put down, then that's what we'll do," Poulsen said.

Related video: Zoo kills healthy young giraffe, feeds to lions

She said that zoos in Denmark have been killing surplus animals for many years, and that the wave of protests following Sunday's killing in Copenhagen is not deterring Jyllands Park Zoo.

"Many places abroad where they do not do this, the animals live under poor conditions, and they are not allowed to breed either. We don't think that's ok," she said.

The giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo was dissected in front of crowds at the zoo, and afterwards, some of the carcass was then fed to other zoo animals and some was sent to research projects in Denmark and abroad for study.

Poulsen said Jyllands Park Zoo has not yet considered whether it should carry out a public dissection as the one in Copenhagen.