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.
    Reuters
    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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    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    February 13, 2014 7:22 AM
    I do not agree with the decision of this zoo to kill the giraffe, even to show the death and dissection of this sufferer in pubric like many opponetns in this forum. But I do not agree as well with the opponents such as have threatened to kill zoo staffs because they are recognized as the same as zoo staffs in the point that both do not reluctant to sucrifice lives.

    by: Animal Lover from: Silver Spring, MD, USA
    February 13, 2014 2:04 AM
    Some scientists - like Mr. Holst - are happy to kill and claim it's entirely defensible and for the greater good.

    Why should he complain about death threats? It is clear he applauds killing - but apparently only when as he's the one ordering the killing.

    by: anitha s rao from: india
    February 13, 2014 12:36 AM
    Man is playing the role of creator and destroyer as science is developing. But man can never be an original creator. So it is time to be humble and live and let live. Even animals have right to live.

    by: Brittney from: Us
    February 12, 2014 11:06 PM
    I'm glad those zoo keepers got death threats they deserves everyone of them. You do not just put down an innocent animal for barely no reason, especially when near by zoos and animal rescue offered to give Marius a home. I'm sorry but that is just disgusting and I hope that zoo gets what's coming to them! RIP Marius <3

    by: pat gaston from: Atlanta Ga
    February 12, 2014 8:33 PM
    I think this is deplorable! Animals that are born have a right to live unless there is a gross deformity that would make life unbearable. Killing this 18 mo. old giraffe because they felt his life was not worth much is crazy. There were way too many people that would have taken him. There is no excuse for this at all. Pure evil!!

    by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
    February 12, 2014 7:11 PM
    I would like to know what was the purpose for zoo keepers to show death and dissection of this giraffe in front of crowds.
    In Response

    by: sandra from: usa
    February 13, 2014 7:46 PM
    maybe thepeople that made this choice should not have reproduced

    by: Cynthia G. from: California, USA
    February 12, 2014 3:07 PM
    The director of the Copenhagen zoo is a Mad scientist and a MONSTER! Why didn't the parents of these young children protest? Those kids are going to grow up de-sensitized.
    I strongly believe that greed and evil played a part in this killing! Instead of spending money on sodium pentobarbitol to properly euthanize this young giraffe, they brutally shot it. And instead of spending funds to transport it, they kill this beautiful creature for no good reason.

    Zoos are supposed to be humane and preserve species not killing fields!!! The director is most likely a callous hunter as well. What a fine example this non-human has set for our children - to kill animals and cut them up!!!

    by: Nikki from: Norway
    February 12, 2014 2:03 PM
    How appalling! I'm an American living in Norway and I can not express how glad I am to have not taken my children to this place while down there. Apparently the on'y thing we Americans can do slightly right is transfer animals from zoo to zoo...death threats....a little much. Two wrongs don't make a right, but loss of his job is a must. I'll never contribute a thing to this place...

    by: alexandra edwards from: south africa
    February 12, 2014 12:38 PM
    This man deserves to die a slow and painful death and I volenteer. What he did was wrong and I hope he and his whole family suffer for the rest of there lives. That scumbag must be fired. As a matter of fact all the animals should be sold to other zoos or game parks everyone should loose there jobs , close the zoo down they are obviously incompatent to run such a place. And for the scumbag hope you rot in hell and I wish I could be there to see it. I spit on you.

    by: G.Davies from: England
    February 12, 2014 12:37 PM
    I fail to comprehend how a country of people can allow such heinous acts to be carried out without national condemnation.The fact that these people can take their infant children to watch these barbarous acts speaks volumes about the mental psyche of these people. There was no explanation that could justify their acts to this beautiful young animal last Sunday! How their Prime minister could allow this to happen on the world stage without even trying to intervene also beggar's belief! This countries recent acts towards hundreds of dolphins also raises grave concern. To think this country is part of the EU, they should be ashamed of themselves! Nobody would believe that Giraffes are an endangered species when this kind of behaviour is going on.Shame on all concerned with that sad day last week! may their god forgive them!
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