Just days after Copenhagen Zoo made the controversial decision to put down a healthy giraffe named Marius, a second Danish zoo has announced it may have to do the same.
Jyllands Park Zoo said on Wednesday it may have to kill one of its 7-year-old giraffes, which by coincidence is also called Marius, if the zoo manages to acquire a female of the species.
Copenhagen Zoo went ahead with the slaughter of the first Marius on Sunday, much to the disgust of animal lovers around the world. Staff at the zoo even received death threats after the 18-month-old male giraffe was put down because its genes were already well represented in an international breeding programme that aims to maintain a healthy giraffe population in European zoos.
Like his namesake in Copenhagen, Jyllands Park Zoo’s Marius is considered unsuitable for breeding and although staff say it might be possible to find another place for the animal to live, the chances are slim.
Jyllands Park zoo-keeper Janni Lojtved Poulsen told Danish news agency Ritzau that it was likely they would get a new female and that because the zoo also has a younger male they wouldn’t be able to keep both.
“We can’t have two males and one female. Then there will be fights,” Poulsen said. “If the breeding programme coordinator decides that he should be put down, then that’s what we’ll do.”
Poulsen added that zoos in Denmark have been killing surplus animals for many years, and that the wave of protests following Sunday’s killing in Copenhagen is not deterring Jyllands Park Zoo. “Many places abroad where they do not do this, the animals live under poor conditions, and they are not allowed to breed either. We don’t think that’s ok,” she said.
The giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo was dissected in front of crowds and afterwards some of the carcass was fed to other zoo animals, while the rest was sent to research projects in Denmark and abroad.
Poulsen said Jyllands Park Zoo has not yet considered whether it would carry out a public dissection like the one in Copenhagen.