Sunday, February 9, 2014
Copenhagen Zoo Kills a Two Year Old Giraffe to Feed Him to the Lions
Copenhagen Zoo kills 2 year old Marius to feed him to the lions That’s not how they tell it, but that’s what they did. Marius, a 2 year old giraffe born at the zoo, was viewed as genetically expendable. Marius was shot in the head with a bolt, and then publicly dissected with the pieces fed to the lions and tigers, all in the presence of families with young children. The public in many countries, such as England, France and the United States, used to thrill to the sight of a public execution. Now we apparently carry on with animals. First, they fed the giraffe, and then they shot him. The public dissection and cutting the giraffe in pieces took three hours. They called it an autopsy. Classy! It would have been quicker if they had just tossed Marius into the lion’s cage and then let the hyenas have the leftovers. That would be more realistic. Imagine the response if the National Zoo, San Diego Zoo or Wildlife Park, or the Bronx Zoo attempted to publicly kill a giraffe and then feed him to the lions. The Copenhagen Zoo is a member of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, whose bylaws promote genetic diversity in animals. The zoos agree to prevent inbreeding. The protocol with giraffes is to remove the young giraffes when they reach sexual maturity between 18 and 24 months. Zoos don’t want a female to mate with her father, who may stay with the pack of females for years. The young male would eventually fight with his father for supremacy of the herd. Thus, an acceptable home must be found. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park in England and a Netherlands Zoo both offered to take Marius. Yorkshire has a state of the art Giraffe House. That wasn’t good enough. Marius apparently had a brother, or half brother residing in Yorkshire. The Danes had their minds made up. Marius was genetically expendable. Tobias Stenbaek Bro, the zoo spokesman, would not survive long in the United States. He said: “I’m actually proud because I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn’t have had watching a giraffe in a photo.” I assume therefore that Stenbaek Bro expects the young Danes to become zoo veterinarians. Every child should experience the dissection of a giraffe. Therefore it should be placed in the school’s curriculum as part of the common core for Denmark. Copenhagen Zoo Scientific Director Benot Holst explained: “As this giraffe’s genes are over-represented in the breeding program, the European Breeding Programe for Giraffes has agreed the Copenhagen Zoo euthanize him.” With a bolt to the head? He explained that any space, such as in the Yorkshire Animal Park, should be preserved for a genetically more improved giraffe. The zoo lets the animals breed to fulfill their normal life. They even named the baby giraffe Marius, thereby personalizing him. I like zoos, but the hubris of a zoo director claiming that a wild animal can lead a normal life in the confines of a zoo defies logic. Holst spoke against a giraffe vasectomy because it would have diminished the quality of Marius’ life. Therefore, they killed Marius, totally destroying the quality of his life. The Copenhagen Zoo has a reputation for the zealous practice of animal eugenics, killing 20-30 animals annually, including bears, tigers (a truly endangered species), and zebras. The Copenhagen Zoo brought Marius to life. They should have let him live out his life. Instead, the Copenhagen Zoo breed and raised Marius to feed him to the lions and other carnivores.