Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Quirk of Fate: Zoo that Killed Marius the Giraffe and Fed Him to the Lions Kills Two Lions and Two Cubs… Moscow Zoopark Slams Action

00 Lion cub.26.03.14


A story about the København Zoo is taking its turn again. Recently, news about killing a healthy giraffe fed a massive outrage and feedback in social networks and in the media. This time, the zoo killed two old lions and two cubs. The zoo authorities made the following excuse, “Because of the natural structure and behaviour of lion pride, the zoo had to euthanise two old lions and two young lions who weren’t old enough to fend for themselves”. It turns out that the new male lion would’ve killed the 10-month-old lion cubs “as soon as he got the chance”. Therefore, to save the little ones, the zoo authorities decided to eliminate the older ones. According to a zoo spokesman, the authorities failed to find a new home for animals and thus decided to kill four of them on Monday. All four lions belonged to the same family. In a couple of days, the zoo will introduce the male lion to two female lions that’d already borne cubs.

Meanwhile, Steffen Straede, the zoo’s CEO, announced, “The zoo is recognised worldwide for our work with lions, and I’m proud that one of the zoo’s own brood now forms the centre of a new pride of lions”. To bring you up-to-date, last month, one of the zoo’s scientific directors, Bengt Holst, received various threats due to his decision to kill Marius the Giraffe. Marius’ story shocked thousands of people all over the world and led to protests and outcries from people. An online petition from animal lovers attempted to save him. Unfortunately, it didn’t succeed as the zoo authorities declared that Marius had to die according to European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) rules stating that zoos should avoid inbreeding between giraffes. Thousands of people from around the world signed a new online petition urging the København Zoo to stop killing healthy animals.


The Moscow Zoopark doesn’t approve of more killings of animals at the København Zoo, where, after it killed Marius the giraffe, the Danish zoo put down four African lions… two old ones and their two ten-month-old cubs… because of the arrival of a new male. On its website, the Moscow Zoopark stated, “Whilst the Moscow Zoopark understands the whole situation, we can’t approve of such a decision because we believe that in the absence of conditions for keeping all the animals, we shouldn’t acquire new ones, even for improving genetic diversity. We shouldn’t kill an animal just because it’s old. We often receive complaints about ‘old animals’ in our enclosures, but that’s our principled decision. Whenever there’s a choice, we try to keep an animal alive no matter what, even if it doesn’t look the way one would want it to”.

It emerged earlier that the København Zoo put down a pair of old African lions and their two ten-month-old cubs. The Danish zoo excused this decision by saying that it received a young African male lion from another zoo on 24 March. Very soon, the zoo will mate the lion with two lionesses born two years ago at the zoo to make up a new pride of lions in København. Regrettably, the zoo doesn’t have room for accommodating all its predators, and it made an unpopular decision about the euthanasia of two old lions and two lion cubs. In nature, in normal course of events in a pride (a lion family), a younger stronger lion often replaces an older animal as the dominant male. He chases the defeated male out of the pride, and the newcomer kills its offspring. To avoid a similar situation, the Copenhagen Zoo administration made an unpopular decision about the euthanasia of the old and young animals. No other zoo wanted to take the cubs, and their parents, a 16-year-old male and a 14-year-old female were nearing the limit of their natural life expectancy for lions in captivity.


The West stands for death… Russia stands for life. Any questions?


26 March 2014

Voice of Russia World Service



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