Last week, the world watched in horror as Denmark’s Copenhagen Zoo shot and killed Marius, a healthy giraffe, because he was a “surplus” animal. Now, despite the global pleading to save Marius, a second giraffe, ironically with the same name, at Jyllands Park Zoo, could suffer the same fate.
We must all put pressure on the zoo and tell them that murder of an unwanted animal is not needed today. There are many alternatives, including the many facilities who offered to take Marius (the first) before he was shot by his keepers. With zoos claiming to be places to safeguard animals and their well-being, but in fact it is becoming ever apparent that they are simply breeding facilities for profit. The killing and then skinning and publicly feeding of Marius to lions at the facility are proof that zoos are in the business of money, not animal well-being.
Bengt Holst, the Copenhagen Zoo’s scientific director, says that Marius is not on the endangered species list, and the zoo already has a “surplus” of giraffes, especially males with genes similar to his. He does not fit into the zoo’s captive breeding program, or that of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
“Copenhagen Zoo’s giraffes are part of an international breeding programme which aims at ensuring a healthy giraffe population in European zoos. This is done by constantly ensur[ing] that only unrelated giraffes breed so that inbreeding is avoided,” Holst said in a statement on the giraffe’s death. “If an animal’s genes are well represented in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted. As this giraffe’s genes are well represented in the breeding programme and as there is no place for the giraffe in the Zoo’s giraffe herd the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes has agreed that Copenhagen Zoo euthanize the giraffe.” At eighteen months old, Marius would soon have the urge to mate, and the zoo does not need any more surplus giraffes.
Virginia McKenna OBE, Founder of the Born Free Foundation said: “I am appalled by the decision to kill this poor, healthy young giraffe. This is an outrage that highlights the urgent need to look more closely at all zoos and the welfare of animals forced to survive in zoo enclosures. Now is the time for people throughout Europe to demand that no more captive wild animals suffer the same tragic fate.”
I am angered and frustrated that in 2014, we as a global society continue to sit by and watch as animals are continued to be slaughtered and abused for human delight. When are we, as a community, going to rise up in even greater numbers than those who bravely attempted to save Marius’ life? How many people does it take to save the innocent life of one giraffe? It appears that more than 20,000 is not enough.
Let us see this incident and outrage as a moment to heap even more pressure on those who deal in animal cruelty, like the Copenhagen Zoo, in an effort to end captivity once and for all and return our planet to the ecosystem designed.
Take a look at these petitions and take time to help save another Marius: