The Same Danish Zoo That Put Down a Healthy Giraffe Just Killed Four of Its Lions

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 25 2014 8:15 PM

The Same Danish Zoo That Put Down a Healthy Giraffe Just Killed Four of Its Lions

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A lion in Copenhagen Zoo eats the remains of a healthy young giraffe in February.

Photo by KASPER PALSNOV/AFP/Getty Images

You have to hand it to Danish zoos, they’re not one to be cowed by (global) public opinion. You’ll remember last month the Copenhagen Zoo sparked global outrage over its decision to put down a healthy 18-month old giraffe, perform a public autopsy, and then feed it to the lions. The zoo said it had to euthanize the giraffe to preserve genetic diversity for breeding. The rest of the world was appalled; the zookeeper received death threats. On Tuesday, the very same Copenhagen zoo told Agence France-Presse it had put down four more of its animals—two of the zoo’s lions and their two cubs.

The move was made because of the pending arrival of a new male lion at the zoo. In a statement the Copenhagen zoo explained why they made the decision. "Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves," the Copenhagen zoo said. A zoo spokesman said they were put down after the zoo was unable to find a new home for the lions, who were all in the same family.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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