Quantcast

Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe, feeds body to lions

Posted: Updated:
Photo from CNN -  A Danish zoo has euthanized a healthy male giraffe, named Marius, saying it had a duty to avoid inbreeding. Photo from CNN - A Danish zoo has euthanized a healthy male giraffe, named Marius, saying it had a duty to avoid inbreeding.

(CNN - Copenhagen, Denmark) -- An online petition to save a healthy young giraffe from death has failed, despite thousands of signatures from animal lovers.

Copenhagen Zoo said it euthanized the male, named Marius, on Sunday because of a duty to avoid inbreeding.

After an autopsy, "Marius" was dismembered in front of a zoo audience that included children, and fed to the zoo's lions.

Despite online uproar over the move and reports of last-minute attempts to save the animal, the zoo in the Danish capital said it had no place for Marius in its giraffe herd. "Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes," Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN. "It can only be done by matching the genetic composition of the various animals with the available space. ... When giraffes breed as well as they do now, then you will inevitably run into so-called surplus problems now and then."

CNN anchor Jonathan Mann asked Holst if it would have been possible to sterilize Marius or move him to another zoo to avoid killing him.

"If we just sterilize him, he will take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes," Holst answered.

Did the children watching cry? Mann asked.

Just the opposite, Holst said. The crowd was "very enthusiastic" and "the kids asked good questions."

Marius was killed by a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, which would contaminate the meat.

The carcass was used partly for research and partly to feed carnivores at the zoo -- lions, tigers, and leopards.

"In this case we would never throw away 200 kilograms of meat," Holst said.

He said the giraffe was 2 years old, and while he was not officially named, his keepers had called him Marius to identify him.

The giraffe's impending death had sparked outrage online, with more than 27,000 people signing a "Save Marius" petition, appealing for a last-minute change of heart.

"The zoo has raised him so it is their responsibility to find him a home," author Maria Evans wrote on the petition site.

Copenhagen Zoo said that due to a massive debate on its Facebook page, it had published a Q&A about the decision on its website.

"It is not possible to transfer the giraffe to another zoo as it will cause inbreeding," it said.

Several zoos volunteered to take Marius in.

The UK's Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which says it has a state-of-the-art giraffe house and the capacity for an extra male, was among several places which put in offers to take him.

International breeding program

Copenhagen Zoo said only zoos that follow certain rules can be part of international breeding programs.

In Europe, these are members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The association counts just over 300 members and under its rules, inbreeding among giraffes is to be avoided.

The association said in a statement Sunday that it supports the zoo's decision.

Despite Marius being healthy, his genes are already well represented at the zoo. Releasing the giraffe into the wild would be unlikely to succeed, Copenhagen Zoo said.

Contraceptives "have a number of unwanted side effects on the internal organs and we would therefore apply a poorer animal welfare if we did not euthanize," it said.

It also made clear that its policy was not to sell the animals.

Holst told CNN the autopsy had been performed outside, given the giraffe's size, and watched by the public, including children if their parents allowed them to.

"It is a good opportunity to invite our guests to watch. ... We are here to educate people and that is a good way to show people what a giraffe looks like," he said.

"People could come into this area if they wanted to. They came with children, without children, we had a lot of people." He said a group of about 16 protesters had gathered outside the zoo on Sunday morning and that he had tried to speak with them. He said all options had been explored before the decision had been made.

"We have always been very open about it, explaining why we are doing it," he said.

On average, he said some 20 to 30 animals, including goats, antelopes and wild boar, were culled for the same reason every year at the zoo.

"This is the first giraffe. ... I do not understand the outrage -- we are all used to on a current basis of animals being culled in the wild," he said.

"We have to ensure a safe healthy population for the future, and you can only have a healthy population if you control and coordinate your breeding efforts."

  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • More BACK TO SCHOOL Pictures 2014

    More BACK TO SCHOOL Pictures 2014

    Monday, August 25 2014 9:41 AM EDT2014-08-25 13:41:46 GMT
    2014 Back to School cuties ! Still time to send them to in to #KTBSBTS and UShare@ktbs.com
    2014 Back to School cuties ! Still time to send them to in to #KTBSBTS and UShare@ktbs.com
  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:24 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:24:12 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • SPD Vice operation nets more than a dozen arrests

    SPD Vice operation nets more than a dozen arrests

    Thursday, August 21 2014 5:01 PM EDT2014-08-21 21:01:06 GMT
    More than a dozen people were arrested following a prostitution sting conducted by the Shreveport Police Department's Vice Unit.
    More than a dozen people were arrested following a prostitution sting conducted by the Shreveport Police Department's Vice Unit.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library taking shape in South Bossier Parish

    Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library taking shape in South Bossier Parish

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 10:27 PM EDT2014-08-28 02:27:55 GMT
    Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library (Photo source: Prevot Design Services)Anna P. Tooke Memorial Library (Photo source: Prevot Design Services)
    It's Bossier Parish's smallest library branch. Originally just a bookmobile, this 12 x 30 foot temporary metal building has been the Koran community's only branch since 1977.
    It's Bossier Parish's smallest library branch. Originally just a bookmobile, this 12 x 30 foot temporary metal building has been the Koran community's only branch since 1977.
  • Family mourns loss of Natchitoches teen

    Family mourns loss of Natchitoches teen

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 7:53 PM EDT2014-08-27 23:53:10 GMT
    18-year-old Johnquaries Smith was a high school senior at Natchitoches Central High school.He died Tuesday after he was punched by another student on campus.
    18-year-old Johnquaries Smith was a high school senior at Natchitoches Central High school.He died Tuesday after he was punched by another student on campus.
  • Jindal suing feds over Common Core

    Jindal suing feds over Common Core

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 5:51 AM EDT2014-08-27 09:51:42 GMT
    Louisiana's Republican governor is planning to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
    Louisiana's Republican governor is planning to file a lawsuit against the Obama administration, accusing it of illegally using federal grant money and regulations to force states to adopt the Common Core education standards.
  • NationalMore>>

  • US to begin safety testing Ebola vaccine next week

    US to begin safety testing Ebola vaccine next week

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:19 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:19:39 GMT
    Federal researchers next week will start testing humans with an experimental vaccine to prevent the deadly Ebola virus.
    Federal researchers next week will start testing humans with an experimental vaccine to prevent the deadly Ebola virus.
  • Day 3 of big waves expected in Southern California

    Day 3 of big waves expected in Southern California

    Thursday, August 28 2014 11:09 AM EDT2014-08-28 15:09:42 GMT
    Southern California is seeing the kind of epic surf usually associated with Hawaii or Tahiti. Beaches are thronged with wave riders and crowds are coming to watch the action even as seaside communities try to stave...
    A third day of huge waves, dangerous rip currents and potential flooding was expected Thursday in Southern California as the coast felt the ripple effects of Tropical Storm Marie churning off the Mexican coast.
  • 5 things to know about earthquake faults

    5 things to know about earthquake faults

    Thursday, August 28 2014 10:49 AM EDT2014-08-28 14:49:57 GMT
    The 6.0-earthquake that damaged buildings and left scores of people injured in California's wine country was the largest temblor to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake...
    The 6.0-earthquake that damaged buildings and left scores of people injured in California's wine country was the largest temblor to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since the 6.9-magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File