Giraffe-Killing Danish Zoo Defends Decision to Put Down Four Healthy Lions

The Danish zoo that killed Marius the giraffe and fed him to lions in front of children defended its decision to also kill four healthy lions in a recent statement, because nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being

This article is from the archive of our partner .

The Danish zoo that earned the ire of the animal-loving world for killing Marius the giraffe (and then feeding him to lions in front of a class of children) is under attack again for euthanizing four perfectly healthy lions. The zoo defended its cold, calculated decision in a recent statement, because nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being

In a rather chilling statement, the Copenhagen Zoo explained that the two aging lions and two cubs were exterminated to make room for a new lion who will soon arrive at the zoo: "Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behavior, the zoo has had to euthanize the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves." Indeed, what better way to protect the very old and the very young from death than by killing them?

The zoo explained that the new, nearly three-year-old lion would have killed two ten-month old lion cubs "as soon as he got the chance," adding that they were afraid the new lion would try to mate with the 16-year-old female lion, which would be harmful to her because "she was too old to be mated with again due to the fact that she would have difficulties with birth and parental care of another litter."

Similar reason were given for the elimination of Marius, a giraffe was shot in the head at the same zoo, back in February. It was determined that his genes were no longer valuable and needed to eliminated from the breeding program's gene pool. Marius is only regret is probably that he wasn't hunted down in the wild by a trophy hunter, like this woman who is also catching considerable grief this week for her kill.

The zoo said it was unable to find a new home for the four lions, conceding that the euthanizing "may seem harsh," but adding that "in nature it is necessary to ensure a strong pride of lions with the greatest chance of survival." They also said that they're excited about this new batch of lions, to be headed up by the new lion and two age-appropriate females. In a poorly-worded statement, the zoo's chief executive Steffen Straede said "The zoo is recognized worldwide for our work with lions, and I am proud that one of the zoo's own brood now forms the center of a new pride of lions."

Speaking of worldwide recognition, an online petition to save the lions drew nearly 50,000 signatures from animal rights activists and others uncomfortable with the prospect of killing healthy mammals to make room for the more powerful. Some responded rather strongly to the Zoo's tweet on the subject:

This time, the animals won't be publicly dissected because "not all our animals are dissected in front of an audience." So at least they have that.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.