UK & World News

  • 14 February 2014, 9:55

Chechnya Offers Home To Giraffe Facing Death

A second giraffe facing being put to death by a Danish zoo has been offered a new home in the war-scarred Russian republic of Chechnya.

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said he was prepared to take Marius from The Jyllands Park Zoo, near the town of Herning, in order to prevent another "bloody show".

Another giraffe, also coincidentally called Marius, was put to death by a Copenhagen zoo earlier this week before it was skinned and dissected in front of visitors.

It was then fed to the zoo's lions and other animals.

Copenhagen Zoo's decision to kill the healthy 18-month-old giraffe provoked international condemnation from animal rights activists, and the decision of The Jyllands Park Zoo to do the same if they cannot find a new home for seven-year-old Marius has brought a similar storm of protest.

Mr Kadyrov - who already reportedly owns a lion and a tiger, and counts Mike Tyson among his celebrity friends - said he was prepared to take in Marius "out of humanitarian concerns".

"We can guarantee him good conditions of detention and take care of his health," he said on his Instagram account.

"We hope that this proposal will find a positive response from the management of Jyllands Zoo."

Mr Kadyrov is better known as an authoritarian figure in Chechnya - where he is accused of ordering torture, banning gambling and cracking down on alcohol - rather than an animal rights activist. 

Keeper Janni Loejtved Poulsen defended The Jylands Zoo's decision.

"We can't keep him if we get a female, because then we would have two males that would fight with each other," he said.

Because Maruis' genes are already represented in the European Endangered Species Programme, which the zoo joined just over a year ago he is less of a priority than a male called Elmer it received in April.

"We have received one male giraffe that is highly ranked genetically, and it's up to the breeding co-ordinator when they have another purebred giraffe for us," Mr Loejtved Poulsen said.

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