Target: Copenhagen Zoo
Goal: Condemn for killing giraffe deemed “surplus”
The Copenhagen Zoo recently euthanized a perfectly healthy two-year-old giraffe named Marius. The zoo said the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria told them that Marius was too genetically similar to other giraffes in their breeding program, which could cause genetic issues for offspring. When the zoo announced that they were planning to euthanize the giraffe, they reportedly received several offers to rehome Marius, including one from a private buyer. However, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria will not allow animals to be transferred to zoos that do not follow their breeding program, so the offers were not accepted. The public was outraged by the zoo’s plans, and made petitions to save the giraffe. Yorkshire Wildlife Park was one organization that offered to take Marius, but reportedly had not heard back from the Copenhagen Zoo by the time they learned that Marius had been killed.
The Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst, said, “Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes. The most important factor must be that the animals are healthy physically and behaviorally and that they have a good life while they are living, whether this life is long or short.” Mr Holst said the zoo didn’t give its eight giraffes contraceptives due to ‘unwanted side effects on the internal organs’ and in order to allow animals to display natural parenting behavior. According to Danish media, Copenhagen Zoo euthanizes 20-30 animals a year, including bears, tigers and zebras. Holst said the campaign to save Marius had gone “much too far.”
The zoo announced that Marius had been killed by a bolt gun and not a lethal injection, because they did not want to contaminate the meat. His body was chopped up and autopsied in front of dozens of schoolchildren and visitors and then fed to the lions.
Condemn the Copenhagen Zoo for senselessly putting down a healthy young giraffe when many other options were made available to keep the animal alive.
Dear Copenhagen Zoo,
Your destruction of the two-year-old giraffe, Marius, was unnecessary. Other organizations offered to take Marius so that he could live a full life and so you could keep your giraffe herd more “genetically different.”
While I understand that you wanted to make Marius’ body useful, killing him via bolt gun and allowing the public to view you dissect his body is gruesome and bordering on inhumane. Marius’ story is very sad, and will serve as a reminder to the public what zoos are capable of. In the future, please consider all offers to rehome an animal before you gruesomely shoot him and feed him to lions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Hans Hillewaert via Wikimedia Commons