Zoo Shoots, Dissects Young Giraffe—Feeds It to Lions
Copenhagen Zoo kills 'surplus' male over inbreeding, gets pretty graphic
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2014 8:16 AM CST
Updated Feb 9, 2014 2:11 PM CST
A giraffe opens its mouth in this 2013 file photo. Copenhagen Zoo put down a young male giraffe today over inbreeding concerns. WARNING: Next pictures feature graphic content.   (AP Photo/Schalk van Zuydam)

(Newser) – The Copenhagen Zoo is facing more than a little wrath today after it put down a healthy young male giraffe with a bolt pistol and fed its meat to zoo carnivores—all over concerns about inbreeding, reports the AP. Two-year-old Marius was considered "surplus," reports the BBC, because he was genetically similar—yet inferior—to many giraffes already within the breeding program of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The over-the-top part? Zoo workers then dissected Marius in front of a crowd that included many children, then fed him to lions. (There are photos in the gallery, but be warned that they are graphic.) A zoo rep stands by the animal's destruction, noting that it's responsible practice. "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," he says, adding that the zoo puts down some 20 to 30 animals per year.

Animal rights activists are outraged, and an online petition to save Marius garnered some 20,000 signatures; zoos including the UK's Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to take in Marius. "It just shows that the zoo is in fact not the ethical institution that it wants to portray itself as being, because here you have a waste product—that being Marius," says one activist. "I can't believe it," adds the director of a Netherlands wildlife park. "We offered to save his life. Zoos need to change the way they do business."

View 3 more images
More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Zoo Puts Down Young Giraffe— Over Inbreeding is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 133 comments
Feb 10, 2014 11:21 AM CST
I hope they didn't let the other giraffes see that. They're probably wondering which one of us is next, if they did. :(
Feb 10, 2014 9:10 AM CST
This is the most disgusting thing I have ever heard of. If you have to 'thin the herd' then please don't do it in front of guests, especially children. Unbelievable.
Feb 10, 2014 7:04 AM CST
1. Never heard of a "bolt pistol" but this engineer assumes it is just like the pneumatic or hydraulic ones used to puncture the heads of beef at processing plants. People, how do you think they kill that beef you eat at the restaurant? For the squeamish, don't read on. Probably like a power anchoring gun that uses a small 22 cartridge to drive a steel rod into the skull for an instantaneous kill. Just realized that it would work perfectly for the death penalty. Very inexpensive, 100% reliable, 100% fatal, little mess and quite humane. 2. For the city folk, they are mere bounty for the predators in God's scheme of things. I don't hunt and kill any wild animal unless I am going to eat it to save on food costs. This writer would like to try some giraffe backstrap steaks on a grill. 3. Can we talk? I think during the previous depression, the deer herd was cut in half. The current depression that nobody is talking about has seen an increase in poaching from California to Florida. Many readers have never gone hungry and don't understand. This writer has no problem with individuals poaching wild game to feed their family. However, the poachers that kill scores of game, including protected species for profit are a real problem. When caught, they should be locked up for a long time.