A ZOO has triggered international outrage, after killing a healthy young giraffe, cutting up its carcass and feeding it to lions in front of spectators, some of them children.
Copenhagen Zoo killed the two-year-old giraffe, called Marius, as it was 'surplus' and to prevent inbreeding, despite a petition of more than 20,000 signatures and offers to save the animal.
He was put down yesterday, using a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, so as not to contaminate the meat. The public feeding of Marius' remains to the lions was popular. Zoo spokesman, Stenbaek Bro said it allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch.
"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," he said.
He said the zoo, which now has seven giraffes left, followed the recommendation of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to put down Marius because there already were a lot of giraffes with similar genes in the organisation's breeding programme.
He said his zoo had turned down offers from other ones to take Marius and an offer from a private individual who wanted to buy the giraffe for €500,000. Bengt Holst, Copenhagen Zoo's scientific director, said it turned down an offer from Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Britain, which is a member of EAZA, because Marius' older brother lives there.