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

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs