Zookeepers at the Copenhagen Zoo killed a “surplus” giraffe named Marius this weekend. And while that seems cruel, the zoo’s staff is more confused by how their actions have made animal rights activists freak out.
“People said, ‘If you kill the giraffe, I’ll kill you,’ ” the zoo’s scientific director Bengt Holst said. “It’s insane.”
On Sunday, Marius was fatally shot after zoo management decided that, despite his good health, there were already enough giraffes in their facility and they didn’t need one more, reports the New York Times.
Animal rights activists tried to stop the giraffe’s impending fate and gathered almost 30,000 petition signatures to keep Marius alive. Other zoos and even a civilian offered to adopt Marius, but all of their efforts were unsuccessful.
And while giving the "surplus giraffe" to another zoo sounds like a sensible decision, Holst says it could lead to other problems like inbreeding.
“We don’t do it to be cruel; we do it to ensure a healthy population,” Mr. Holst added. “You have to breed them to make sure the population is renewed.”
Marius’ parts are now meals for the zoo’s lions, tigers and leopards. Who knew Danes were so cold-hearted? Their pastries are so lovely.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Ambassador to Denmark, Rufus Gifford, intends to look into the situation. He posted the following on his Facebook page:
Hundreds of you have reached out to me about the death on Sunday of Marius the 18-month old giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo. I was unaware of it before it happened. As an animal lover, a WWF supporter, and the partner of a man who has dedicated his life to animals (Stephen is a veterinarian and spent his whole life working with animals large and small) I find the situation to be disturbing and the video hard to watch. I have also read numerous articles about the reasoning and justification for his killing and talked to Stephen about it at length. Despite being personally troubled by the action, I also understand the zoo is trying to teach the public about the species, the complexity of life for zoo animals and the life of giraffes in the wild.
Stephen and I will visit the Zoo soon to try and understand why they do what they do. I will keep an open mind until I hear all the different perspectives which is my responsibility.
Image via Getty.