UK & World News
Giraffe Killed By Zoo And Publicly Fed To Lions
A healthy giraffe has been put down and publicly fed to lions despite an online campaign to save him.
Marius was shot dead with a bolt gun at Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark on Sunday to prevent inbreeding.
Visitors, including children, were invited to watch the giraffe being skinned and fed to the animals.
Spokesman Stenbaek Bro said it allowed parents to decide whether their children should watch 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."
The zoo said it had no choice but to kill the animal, who is thought to be aged around two. Under European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza) rules, inbreeding of giraffes should be avoided.
Although Marius was healthy, his genes are already well represented at the zoo. None of the 300 other Eaza-affiliated zoos could have taken him.
Castration was considered cruel with "undesirable effects" and releasing him into the wild was thought unlikely to be successful.
More than 5,000 people signed a "Save Marius" Facebook petition, while two website petitions gained more than 25,000 backers.
The zoo, which now has seven giraffes left, received offers from other zoos to take Marius, but did not specify how many.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park in Doncaster contacted Copenhagen Zoo, but did not hear back from them.
The Expressen daily reported that a Swedish zoo, which is not Eaza-affiliated, tried to get Marius transferred there.
A Danish promoter living in Los Angeles was quoted as saying he had found a buyer for him.
Claus Hjelmbak told the Ekstrabladet newspaper: "One of my close friends, a billionaire, said that he wanted to transfer a few million so we could save the giraffe.
"He could easily have lived in his garden in Beverly Hills, but the zoo director was not interested in a sale. I'm angry."
The zoo had made it clear it had a policy of not selling the animals.
:: Watch Sky News live on television, on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 82 and Freesat channel 202.