The reason was because of inbreeding, says the AP
The 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.
The giraffe was two years old and was considered a "surplus" animal because he was, according to the BBC in the UK,
"genetically similar—yet inferior—to many giraffes already within the breeding program of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria."
But that is not the worst part. After he was killed, zoo workers dissected Marius in front of a crowd that was standing close by and fed him to the lions. Some of those onlookers were children.
The zoo has defended its actions and has declared it a just and 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 reports that anywhere from 20 to 30 animals are put down every year at the Copenhagen Zoo.
"It's sad they couldn't have just given him to another zoo," says San Francisco resident, Katie Adler.
And it's not that people didn't try. A petition online set up to save Marius got 20,000 signatures and in the UK, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park offered to take the giraffe.
The director of a wildlife park in the Netherlands also says they tried to house the giraffe.
"We offered to save his life. Zoos need to change the way they do business," he tells press.
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