Copenhagen Zoo just drew international outrage after shooting a baby giraffe and then cutting it up in front of a crowd in a bid to prevent ‘inbreeding.’ According to reports, the animal was coaxed into a yard and then shot in the head from behind. He was then carved into pieces in front of a crowd of people (including children) before parts of the carcass were fed to lions.

Marius giraffe, Copenhagen Zoo, baby giraffe killed, baby giraffe Marius, inbreeding, euthanisia, longleat safari park,Image via Thomas Rousing

Not only did the zoo kill the 18-month-old giraffe named Marius, but it used shocking methods to do so. The plan to euthanize the animal had already drawn international condemnation with animal rights activists, who set up an online petition that gained 25,000 signatures. British and Swedish zoos also put in offers to re-home the animal. But Copenhagen Zoo is defending its decision on the grounds that Marius’ death was ‘normal practice for zoos to maintain a “sound population” as part of an international breeding programme.’

In their statement, which was published on their website and titled Why does Copenhagen Zoo euthanize a giraffe?, the zoo added that killing the giraffe was “in agreement with the European breeding program” and that transferring the animal to another zoo would “cause inbreeding.”

“As this giraffe’s genes are well represented in the breeding program and as there is no place for the giraffe in the zoo’s giraffe herd, the European Breeding Program for Giraffes has agreed that Copenhagen Zoo euthanise the giraffe,” said the statement from the zoo’s Scientific Director Bengt Holst. “When breeding success increases, it is sometimes necessary to euthanise.”

In-breeding is often cited in decisions to kill zoo animals, but it is the first time a giraffe has ever been put down. The decision to send it to a safari park in Africa was rejected as Marius’ attachment to humans would have made him an easy target for predators. A lethal injection was also rejected as it would ‘have contaminated the meat.’

Via BBC News