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: Danish zoo kills giraffe to prevent inbreeding

2.8 /5 (4 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

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

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.