COPENHAGEN, Denmark (CNN, Feb. 9th, 2014)- An online petition to save a healthy young giraffe from death has failed, despite thousands of signatures from animal lovers.
Copenhagen Zoo said it euthanized the male, named Marius, on Sunday because of a duty to avoid inbreeding.
After an autopsy, “Marius” was dismembered in front of a zoo audience that included children, and fed to the zoo’s lions.
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.
“Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes,” Bengt Holst, scientific director at Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN. “It can only be done by matching the genetic composition of the various animals with the available space. … When giraffes breed as well as they do now, then you will inevitably run into so-called surplus problems now and then.”