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Giraffe fed to lions: Copenhagen Zoo displays a cruel view of conservation

The Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark killed a surplus giraffe on Sunday and fed it to the lions in front of zoo visitors. According to a Feb. 9 article on, the 2-year-old giraffe called Marius was shot because he was not genetically suited to the international breeding program.

People around the world are upset about the Copenhagen Zoo's actions.
Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images

To avoid inbreeding, he was deemed as not worthy of taking up space in the program, although there were offers from two facilities and a donor who offered to pay to save the giraffe. The public has expressed their dismay at this move by the zoo. There was an online petition signed to "Save Marius," and 27,000 people signed it.

It seems very odd that the zoo would choose such a barbaric display to dispose of the young male giraffe, but breeding programs do routinely cull animals to avoid inbreeding. The zoo determined that if they moved him to another facility, inbreeding would still be a problem. As a way of conserving resources, the meat was not wasted but fed to other zoo carnivores.

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