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25 Mar, 2014 20:21

After giraffe scandal, Danish zoo ‘euthanizes’ 4 lions, cubs to make way for new male

After giraffe scandal, Danish zoo ‘euthanizes’ 4 lions, cubs to make way for new male

The Copenhagen Zoo that sparked international outrage by publicly killing and dissecting a healthy giraffe, has put down two lions and their two cubs to make room for new male lion, said zoo officials.

The Danish Zoo explained their actions saying that the two old lions have been euthanized as part of a generational shift, while their two 10 month old cubs would not be able to protect themselves.

"Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behavior, the zoo has had to euthanize the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves," Copenhagen Zoo said in a statement on Monday.

The zoo added that the cubs "would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance."

The lions, who were from the same family, were killed after the zoo authorities failed to find a new home for them, said the facility’s spokesman as cited by AFP.

Copenhagen Zoo that killed Marius now kills 4 lions including 2 cubs #Marius#dkpol#dkmedierpic.twitter.com/ELAKThqwWF

— Steffen Jørgensen (@Steffendus) March 25, 2014

He added that there would be no public dissection, as was done with the 18-month-old giraffe named Marius in February.

“Not all our animals are dissected in front of an audience," he added.

The healthy young giraffe was killed “to avoid inbreeding.” His genes were too common to be “included in the genetic chain without causing inbreeding problems” within the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), according to Bengt Holst, the zoo’s scientific director.

After he was shot, visitors were invited to observe his dissection for educational purposes. The giraffe’s remains were then fed to carnivorous animals at the zoo, including lions.

The zoo’s actions caused widespread outrage sparking protests with some even sending death threats to the officials.

Meanwhile, the new male lion will be welcomed at the Copenhagen zoo in a few days. He is to be introduced to the zoo’s two females to make a new family.

"The zoo is recognized worldwide for our work with lions, and I am proud that one of the zoo's own brood now forms the center of a new pride of lions," said chief executive Steffen Straede