News / Europe

Copenhagen Zoo Staff Receives Death Threats After Giraffe Killing

Marius, a male giraffe, lies dead before being dissected, after he was put down at Copenhagen Zoo on Feb. 9, 2014.
Marius, a male giraffe, lies dead before being dissected, after he was put down at Copenhagen Zoo on Feb. 9, 2014.
Copenhagen Zoo's scientific director and other staff have received death threats after a healthy giraffe was killed to avoid inbreeding among the long-necked beasts there, the zoo said on Monday.
But director Bengt Holst said it was the right decision and he would be ready to do the same with another animal if needed.
The death of Marius, an 18-month-old male shot on Sunday and then dissected in front of crowds at the zoo, has created a uproar among animal lovers in Denmark and abroad.
“I got direct threats against the zoo, me and my family,” Holst said. One caller who telephoned in the middle of the night told him that he and his family deserved to die.
A zoo spokesman said other staffers had also been threatened but gave no further details.
Copenhagen Zoo's giraffes are part of an international breeding program that aims to maintain a healthy giraffe population in European zoos by ensuring that only unrelated giraffes breed.
“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.”
Petition pleads for Marius
Marius was killed despite the pleas of thousands who signed online petitions to save him. He was given his favorite breakfast of rye bread and then shot.
After an autopsy, some meat from Marius's carcass was fed to other zoo animals and some was sent to research projects in Denmark and abroad for study.
Camilla Bergvall, vice chairwoman of Animal Rights Sweden, said it was common for zoos to kill healthy animals because they were not suitable for breeding, the zoo lacked room for them or there was little public interest in them.
“Zoos have to think about their revenues,” she said. “It is important to understand that this is not just about Marius. It happens quite often that healthy animals are killed.”
Bergvall said keeping species in zoos caused the individual animals to suffer. Breeding animals for captivity created the limited gene pool problem that led to Marius's death.
“The best thing is not to breed animals for people to look at,” she said.

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Comments page of 3
February 28, 2014 12:57 AM
Copenhagen Zoo is Zoo-Auschwitz for animals for my mind. And so the place of dirty medievial attractions for human beings (especially -childs!!!) of 21 cent. LET us NEVER visit such awful places!

by: Michelle from: Lesmond
February 15, 2014 6:27 PM
Vigilantes are magnificent.Death wish to each and every scumbags responsible for the murder of this giraffe. An eye for an eye.What goes around comes around!!!!!

by: Linda from: Florida
February 15, 2014 6:13 PM
This is a disgusting and horrible thing done to the poor giraffe. He should be fed to the lion. I don't know how he sleeps at night. I can see why he is getting death threats. He could of sent the giraffes to a another zoo.

by: tess from: Australia
February 15, 2014 2:55 AM
from all of us in.Australia to the Copenhagen Zoo we are appauled by your disgusting behaviour. I will never visit your zoo. your tourism.will suffer and your zoo. what a stupid decision. Our Australian zoos coordinate sharing animals. Whilst also segregating males from females to prevent inbreeding and transporting these beautiful.and rare animals to other zoos. Australia would of taken him. Your a disgrace to the world. Zoos are about conservation and to do what you did in front of families is so.moralky wrong. As a mum, a teacher and as a animal conversation supporter you are viewed by all Australians as a bloody disgrace. Your zoo does not deserve support and I hope your animals are transferred to other zoos and your shut down.

by: Linda from: Healdsburg Ca
February 13, 2014 8:58 PM
With all the problems in the world, couldn't you have done the right thing here? It is appalling, cruel, and thoughtless. I cannot believe that you would take the life of a young giraffe so thoughtlessly. Badly done. There was another alternative. I will NEVER visit your zoo.

by: Carole from: Canada
February 13, 2014 2:04 PM
This is most deplorable thing I have ever heard about. What kind of world do we live in. Shut all the zoos down if this is how we treat our beautiful creatures. I will not support zoos anymore and this monster should go to jail or worse. He obviously has no conscience or regard for life!

by: Cranksy from: USA
February 13, 2014 12:41 PM
Boycott zoos. There seems to be so little learnt from or respect cause for the other conscious species captive there compared to the miserable frustration and fear some of them apparently experience.

by: Laurie J. from: NYC,NY
February 13, 2014 11:28 AM
This appalling act and extreme violence makes no sense at all. This beautiful defenseless creature was killed in cold blood. This is not the Serengeti Desert. This is a controlled environment. This young healthy giraffe had life there for close to 2 years. The monster who killed him in front of school children should suffer the same consequences. What an evil creep. The parents of these school children should sue the state! This was supremely wrong on so many levels!

by: Agent00x from: Florida
February 13, 2014 9:46 AM
So much for the idea that zoos exist to protect and care for animals.

by: animalgirl
February 13, 2014 8:36 AM
They could've just neutered him! Jeez. Idiots!!
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