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#JusticeforMarius!

That is the cry of outraged animal lovers worldwide after Copenhagen Zoo put to death a healthy young giraffe because he was unsuitable for breeding.

Offers of a new home and some 27,000 signatures on an international petition were not enough to save 18-month-old Marius from a fate critics branded ‘barbaric’.

Shot dead with a bolt gun by his captors, he was subsequently dissected in front of onlookers, including children, and then fed to the zoo’s lions.

Sunday’s killing has prompted a new online petition – this time calling for the resignation of Bengt Holst, the zoo’s scientific director.

“The way Holst stubbornly refused to consider any alternatives that might save Marius’ life is appalling,” it says.

Holst refused to spare Marius, insisting his genes were too common for a breeding programme aimed at ensuring giraffes’ long-term survival. Inbreeding was feared should he reproduce, so he had to die.

“We see this as a positive sign and as insurance that we in the future will have a healthy giraffe population in European zoos,” the zoo has said.

Holst says he has even received death threats. He is, however, adamant that his methods of animal management will not change.

The death of Marius has mobilised opinion across the globe.

Whatever the scientific arguments, animal lovers hope their protests will prompt a rethink in life and death decisions affecting all creatures kept in zoos.

Copyright © 2014 euronews

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