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Copenhagen Zoo: Public rage, death threats over zoo's killing of young giraffe

A Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark is under fire this week for putting down a healthy, two-year-old male giraffe named Marius. According to a report from The Associated Press, as carried by Fox News today, the 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 and a private individual to save the animal.”

Fox News
Fox NewsMarius, a male giraffe, lies dead before being dissected after he was put down at a Copenhagen Zoo on Sunday.

An online petition that was signed by over 20,000 individuals was ignored by the zoo, as were offers received from other zoos and even private individuals that reached out in an attempt to adopt Marius before he was shot.

Shockingly, the zoo invited visitors, including young children, to watch while the giraffe was skinned and fed to lions.

“I'm actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn't have had from watching a giraffe in a photo,” said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek.

Under a recommendation from the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the zoo killed the giraffe because of concerns over inbreeding.

Now, after the killing of the animal, Copenhagen Zoo's scientific director and other staff have received death threats. The giraffe was dismembered and a necropsy was performed in front of spectators. The giraffe was then fed to the zoo lions as visitors watched.

“I got direct threats against the zoo, me and my family,” said zoo Director Bengt Holst, who added that one caller phoned him in the middle of the night to tell him that he and his family deserved to die.

"If an animal's genes are well represented in a population, further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted," Holst said. "We could face the same problem with an elephant if there are too many males."

Read more on this developing story:

Danish zoo giraffe: Killing, feeding 2-year-old giraffe to lion erupts in outcry