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.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 
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!
Comments page of 3
 Previous   Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festivali
X
April 24, 2015 4:09 AM
Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Keeping Washington Airspace Safe Is Tall Order

Being the home of all three branches of the U.S. federal government makes Washington, D.C. the prime target for those who want to make their messages and ideas heard. Unfortunately, many of them choose to deliver them in unorthodox ways, including from the air, as a recent incident clearly showed involving a gyrocopter landing on the Capitol’s West Lawn. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.

VOA Blogs