What Happens Around: A healthy male giraffe was euthanized because its genes didn’t add to the diversity of the zoo population
Afterward, zoo officials performed a three-hour-long demonstration of how to butcher a giraffe before a large crowd of visitors, including many children. The meat was then fed to the zoo’s lions.
“When breeding success increases it is sometimes necessary to euthanize,” Bengt Holst, the zoo’s scientific director, said in a statement on the giraffe’s death. “We see this as a positive sign and as insurance that we in the future will have a healthy giraffe population in European zoos.”
Marius’s death and very public dismemberment sparked outrage on social media, prompted death threats against staff at the zoo, and was seen by some animal lovers as provocative response to a campaign to spare the giraffe’s life in the days and hours leading up to his death.
An online petition asking the Copenhagen Zoo to hold off on killing its unwanted giraffe until an alternate home could be found for him received over 27,000 signatures from around the world but was ignored by the zoo. So were offers by wildlife parks in Britain, Sweden, and the Netherlands to take Marius off their hands rather than see him killed.
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