Healthy Giraffe Put Down to Avoid Inbreeding

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(Courtesy: MGN Online)

(CNN) — An online petition to save a healthy young giraffe from death has failed, despite thousands of signatures.

Copenhagen Zoo said it was putting down the male, named Marius, on Sunday because of a duty to avoid inbreeding.

Despite online uproar over the move and reports of last-minute attempts to save the animal, the zoo in the Danish capital said it had no place for Marius in its giraffe herd.

Following an autopsy, its body will be chopped up and fed to carnivores at the zoo.

“The euthanasia is happening in agreement with the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes,” Copenhagen Zoo said on its website.

“It is not possible to transfer the giraffe to another zoo as it will cause inbreeding.”

Fed to the lions

Marius was killed by a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, which would contaminate the meat, the zoo said.

The carcass will be used partly for research and partly to feed carnivores at the zoo.

The giraffe’s impending death had sparked outrage online, with more than 27,000 people signing a “Save Marius” petition, appealing for a last-minute change of heart.

Several zoos volunteered to take Marius in.

The UK’s Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which says it has a state-of-the-art giraffe house and the capacity for an extra male, was among several places which put in offers to take him.

International breeding program

Copenhagen Zoo, which published an online Q&A about the death, said only zoos that follow certain rules can be part of international breeding programs.

In Europe, these are members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria. The association counts just over 300 members and under its rules, inbreeding between giraffes is to be avoided.

Despite Marius being healthy, his genes are already well represented at the zoo. Releasing the giraffe into the wild would be unlikely to succeed, Copenhagen Zoo said on its website.

“Copenhagen Zoo’s giraffes are part of an international breeding programme which aims at ensuring a healthy giraffe population in European zoos,” Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director Bengt Holst said in the Q&A.

“This is done by constantly ensure that only unrelated giraffes breed so that inbreeding is avoided. If an animal’s genes are well represented in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted.”

The zoo made clear that its policy was not to sell the animals.

27 comments

  • Wow

    How horrible! I really didn’t need to know that he would be chopped up and fed to the other meat eating animals at the zoo. Why did that need to be included in the story? Better yet, why did we even need to know this in the first place.

    • NayNay

      @wow, because we need to be informed. do you want to live with you head in the sand? evil will go on, with or without your knowledge. when good people do nothing, then what? why would you want to look the other way?

    • Bonnie

      We need to know about this stuff so we can stop it from happening again. If we close our eyes and turn our backs, this type of cruelty will continue.

  • Gretchen Meyers

    These unnecessary killings if animals lately are really making me sad….How about killing murderers and pedophiles instead!

      • NayNay

        of course we needed to know about this. bad evil things happen. not knowing about them doesn’t mean they don’t happen. knowing means we can maybe, make a difference. we can’t leave our heads in the sand. we can’t look the other way. what if we were “surplus”?

    • Bonnie

      Sadly…..murderers and pedophiles are protected. They have rights that their victims didn’t have. And people continue to kill helpless animals. This world is all F@#$ed up.

  • steven

    Selling the animal has nothing to do with killing a perfectly good and healthy animal. I can understand their breeding program but here’s a bit of common sense for them, regardless of ehat the rules are with your program another zoo that wished to take him in, has nothing to do with that or international breeding for that matter, and ill be open here and say even if you didn’t want to allow another zoo to have the animal why not look into making the animal sterile instead because I’m not stupid I know its possible, and before anyone wants to say its inhumane to neuter a animal, its a lot more humane then killing a animal that’s perfectly healthy. There was a massive petetion out about stopping this from happening this zoo didn’t care because they already planned to kill it and treat itfood/science experiment, I’m appalled by their decision, everyone fights for anti abortion and pro life, well when did the animal sign a waiver of his right to live?

  • happy27

    how terrible this has happen to our giraffe , how can this happen ? poor baby it was healthy animal , I hope those ppl will get there karma back …& to shoot it point blank to feed the meat to the animals in the zoo …that’s murder in my book ….whatever ur reasoning was why u killed the giraffe is wrong … idk how can u sleep at night knowing u did this …our world is so messed up !!!!!!!!!

  • NayNay

    we must speak up, this is a travesty. there were so many other options. to those who say they didn’t want to know or need to know this i say, you have a voice, Marus didn’t. you voice can make a difference.

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.
    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.” -pastor Martin Niemöller……..

  • Start_Over

    Europeans are messed up in the head…just working with a few here in the states they have over active imaginations…this is horrible

  • Just My Thoughts

    Because we all know there is no technology to simply neuter him to prevent breeding (smh). In addition to the statement that reintroducing him to the wild, would likely be unsuccessful. Well likely failure is not a guarantee, it’s an educated GUESS. They should have at least given him a chance. Death IS a guarantee of unsuccessful reintroduction to the wild!

  • turtlesinthewoods

    Guess I’ll be the only one to say it: it’s an animal, not a person, and this is not the end of the world. Lions have done worse to baby giraffes, and inbreeding actually is something to be avoided, something that nature on its own tries to avoid. We don’t like it because it appeals to our anthropomorphic nature. The creature is darned cute, and we see it as an unnecessary killing because we could have kept it alive somewhere else. I say we because yes, I’d like to read that it was saved and has a happy life somewhere else. But nature is not always nice, and just because we have morality does not make the quick death of an animal wrong. They did not torture it, and it went on to better the lives of other animals, i.e. food. Please do not compare a giraffe to the slaughter of the Jews. My word.

  • Jeff Hoerr

    “The euthanasia is happening in agreement with the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes,” Copenhagen Zoo said on its website. “As a matter of fact, we love our animals to death!”

  • turtlesinthewoods

    Reblogged this on Living Between the Trees and commented:
    I had this phase for a while where I went around and got myself worked up over the comment sections of all sorts of articles and I’d post my outrage at everyone’s poor opinions. Then I realized I was being ridiculous and stopped that nonsense. Because really, who cares about the comment section. However, being the animal lover that I am, and knowing the fun that comes from having my apparently controversial opinion about this story, I’m reposting this, as well as the comment I gave in and posted on the actual article. Poor baby giraffe. I’m saddened. I’m a little more saddened that it’s being labeled as a murderous tragedy.

    “Guess I’ll be the only one to say it: it’s an animal, not a person, and this is not the end of the world. Lions have done worse to baby giraffes, and inbreeding actually is something to be avoided, something that nature on its own tries to avoid. We don’t like it because it appeals to our anthropomorphic nature. The creature is darned cute, and we see it as an unnecessary killing because we could have kept it alive somewhere else. I say we because yes, I’d like to read that it was saved and has a happy life somewhere else. But nature is not always nice, and just because we have morality does not make the quick death of an animal wrong. They did not torture it, and it went on to better the lives of other animals, i.e. food. Please do not compare a giraffe to the slaughter of the Jews. My word.”

  • Crystal

    I think this is terrible. I notice they do not mention how he came to be in the first place. If this is their policy for inbreeding then someone should be held responsible for his being here with his genes in the first place. He should not have been killed things could have been done to make sure inbreeding did not happen. Sad world we live in.

  • geoffrey haberman

    The article doesn’t mention that the murder and butchering of this beautiful animal was done in public with many onlookers including front row viewing for children.

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