Danish zoo defends lion killing after giraffe cull

Mar 26, 2014 by Jan M. Olsen
This is a Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 file photo of the carcass of Marius, a male giraffe, as it is eaten by lions after he was put down in Copenhagen Zoo . The zoo that faced protests for killing a healthy giraffe to prevent inbreeding says it has put down four lions, including two cubs, to make room for a new male lion. Citing the "pride's natural structure and behavior," the Copenhagen Zoo said Tuesday March 25, 2014 that two old lions had been euthanized as part of a generational shift. It's not known if the lions photographed are the ones that were put down by the zoo. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Rasmus Flindt Pedersen, File)

A Danish zoo on Wednesday defended its decision to kill two aging lions and two cubs, citing the risk of inbreeding and the arrival of a new male.

This week's cull has put the Copenhagen Zoo on the defensive again, a month after it infuriated animal rights activists by killing a healthy giraffe, dissecting it in public and feeding it to the lions.

In a statement, the said it had to put down the lions to make room for the new, nearly 3-year-old male, saying it wouldn't have been accepted by the pride if the older male—aged 16—were still around.

"Furthermore we couldn't risk that the male lion mated with the old female as she was too old to be mated with again due to the fact that she would have difficulties with birth and of another litter," the zoo said.

The cubs were also put down because they were not old enough to fend for themselves and would have been killed by the new male anyway, officials said.

Zoo officials hope the new male and two females born in 2012 will form the nucleus of a new pride.

They said the culling "may seem harsh, but in nature is necessary to ensure a strong pride of lions with the greatest chance of survival."

In February, the zoo faced protests and even death threats after it killed a 2-year-old giraffe, citing the need to prevent inbreeding.

This time the zoo wasn't planning any public dissection. Still, the deaths drew protests on social media, including an online petition with nearly 50,000 signatures Wednesday calling on the zoo to stop killing healthy animals.

Each year, thousands of animals are euthanized in European zoos for a variety of reasons. Zoo managers saying their job is to preserve species, not individual animals.

Explore further: Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

Related Stories

Danish zoo kills giraffe to prevent inbreeding

Feb 09, 2014

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 ...

Danish zoo may kill second giraffe named Marius

Feb 13, 2014

Just days after a Copenhagen zoo sparked global outrage by putting down a healthy giraffe named Marius, another Danish zoo says it may do the same thing to a giraffe with the same name.

Danes defend zoo's killing of healthy giraffe

Feb 10, 2014

Many Danes on Monday defended the killing of a healthy but inbred giraffe at Copenhagen's zoo that triggered outrage after it was chopped up and fed to lions in front of visitors.

Recommended for you

Birds 'weigh' peanuts and choose heavier ones

May 23, 2015

Many animals feed on seeds, acorns or nuts. The common feature of these are that they have shells and there is no direct way to know what's inside. How do the animals know how much and what quality of food ...

Estuaries protect Dungeness crabs from deadly parasites

May 22, 2015

Parasitic worms can pose a serious threat to the Dungeness crab, a commercially important fishery species found along the west coast of North America. The worms are thought to have caused or contributed to ...

An evolutionary heads-up—the brain size advantage

May 22, 2015

A larger brain brings better cognitive performance. And so it seems only logical that a larger brain would offer a higher survival potential. In the course of evolution, large brains should therefore win ...

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

May 21, 2015

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Loww
not rated yet Apr 10, 2014
It's abhorrent that any zoo would find this acceptable! Humans are not the harbors of species and we should stop trying to be so! Killing healthy animals in the name of a healthy pack means we shouldn't have these animals captive. Let them be where nature can take care of nature---we're nothing but observers.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.