A case of an eye for an eye? Staff member of the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark now worry for their lives after the killing of a baby giraffe went highly publicised and out of proportions.
On Sunday, Copenhagen Zoo staff euthanised two-year-old baby giraffe Marius by a shot through the head then skinned and its carcasses fed to the lions. All these happened in front of an audience that included young children. Zoo keepers defended the scheme meant to prevent inbreeding of the animals, despite that the surplus animal was of very healthy conditions.
The killing created a nausea which now made staff of Copenhagen Zoo fear for their lives.
"The children of the staff of Copenhagen Zoo should all be killed or should get cancer," Tobias Stenbaek Bro, Zoo spokesman,read on Monday, citing the contents of the death threats they received over the telephone and in emails.
Mr Stenbaek Bro argued that while they desired to show the children how the educational killing usually takes place, they still left the decision to the parents if they will allow them to witness the gruesome killing. Suffice to say, the children present were given explicit permission by their parents.
Copenhagen Zoo maintained the killing was "an important display of scientific knowledge about animals."
"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 from watching a giraffe in a photo," Mr Stenbaek Bro told AP.
Animal rights campaigners however maintained the zoo should have not proceeded with the killing since many responded who were willing to take the giraffe in their own care, including one from Yorkshire Wildlife Park and a private buyer who offered 500,000 euro (£410,000).
The zoo made an announcement before it actually conducted the killing.
"Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes. The most important factor must be that the animals are healthy physically and behaviourally and that they have a good life while they are living, whether this life is long or short," Bengt Holst, the zoo's scientific director, said.
Mr Hoist added the decision to kill the beautiful animal was known to the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA)
EAZA said it supported the zoo's decision to "humanely put the animal down and believes strongly in the need for genetic and demographic management within animals in human care."
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