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Copenhagen Zoo Criticized For Giraffe Killing

Saying it needed to prevent inbreeding, the Copenhagen Zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions as visitors watched, ignoring a petition signed by thousands and offers from other zoos and a private individual to save the animal.

Marius, a healthy male, was put down Sunday using a bolt pistol, said zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was then skinned and fed to the lions.

Bro says he and the zoo’s scientific director, Bengt Holst, received several threats over the telephone and in emails.

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Marius, a perfectly healthy young giraffe, is pictured Feb. 7, 2014. (Keld Navntoft/AFP/Getty Images)
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Marius, a perfectly healthy young giraffe, is pictured Feb. 7, 2014. (Keld Navntoft/AFP/Getty Images)