The Copenhagen Zoo, who was subject of worldwide criticism after killing 18-month-old giraffe Marius to avoid inbreeding and dissected her in front of children, has now euthanised by injection a family of four healthy lions on Monday to make room for a new lion.

The zoo killed a 16-year-old lion, a lioness and their two 10-month-old cubs, partly to avoid inbreeding between the two young ones and their father and partly because they believe the new lion would have killed the young ones “as soon as he got the chance.”

According to head of the zoo Steffen Straede, they are not afraid of public backlash because “people are more enlightened after Marius.”

“Marius hasn’t made us the least bit afraid, because what we are doing is the most correct thing to do.”

In a few days, a 3-year-old lion will be introduced to the two females who have reached breeding age.

“The zoo is recognised worldwide for our work with lions, and I am proud that one of the zoo’s own brood now forms the centre of a new pride of lions,” said Straede.

According to Dr Lesley Dickie, executive director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year across Europe. “That’s our estimate for all animals management euthanised in the zoo, be it tadpoles up until a giraffe,” she said.

photo by:


Martin Pettitt

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