Zoo Blues

Yes, I realize I’m on another rant…I try not to rant too terribly often but in this case, I simply couldn’t help myself.   I get annoyed enough when someone dumps the cell phone they bought three months ago for $500 just to drop another couple hundred dollars to upgrade to the newest one. Is the new version really that much better than what you had? Or are you just trying to look cool by having the latest and greatest?

So imagine my shock when I recently heard of a Copenhagen Zoo doing pretty much the same thing. Very small, minor, trivial differences. Such as, instead of iPhones that they’re getting rid of, it’s a family of four perfectly healthy lions. Yes, you read that correctly. The zoo euthanized four lions in one fell swoop. Now these lions did not team up to kill their handlers and therefore had to be put down. They aren’t housing a biological pathogen that could wipe out all of Denmark. They do not have 666 tattooed on the back of their manes. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them at all.

So why off them as if they’re yesterday’s news? Because, according to the zoo, they are yesterday’s news. Apparently this lovely quartet of endangered animals was given the boot to make room for one new young male lion the zoo scored. The zoo tried to offload the cubs (oh, how humane) but no one took them in (so they say), so what else were they supposed to do? Slice and dice time, kiddos! Sorry!

The carcass of Marius, a male giraffe, is eaten by lions at Copenhagen Zoo, after he was put down to prevent inbreeding. Photo: AP

(Photo Credit: AP) Click photo for news story.

What’s most messed up about this whole thing is the math involved. The new lion coming in was basically procured to mate with two lionesses who reached breeding age in 2012. So, wait? What? The zoo killed four lions so that they could bring in one lion to hopefully make more lions? Maybe the adults in the family unit were past their prime (which is questionable since they had two young cubs in the pride…I mean just where did those come from??) but I still don’t get how killing two perfectly healthy cubs for one male is sound arithmetic. Sure we all like 2-for-1 sales, but this one seems a bit backwards to me. It just sounds like gambling to me. Sure the new male will probably be successful at pumping out some kids of his own, but if you already have two, why tempt fate? That’s like winning $1,000 at craps then instead of walking out of the casino you keep playing because you can’t help but feed the greed.

The zoo claims that in nature, this new male lion would surely kill off the cubs (because they are not his offspring).  That may be true.  But and it’s a pretty big “but,” that would only happen if he bested the other dominant male and became the dominant male himself.  The zoo never allowed this natural process to take place – they simply got rid of the competition by killing off the two resident male lions. And rather than segregate the cubs until they reach maturity, well, they just killed them off too.  You know.  To be safe.  To allow natural selection to do its thing.

This zoo has been doing awesome lately. It’s the same zoo that killed a healthy two-year old giraffe (named Marius) because he “didn’t fit in the zoo’s breeding program.”  Forget the fact that they obviously bred him into surplus.  I mean why breed a species in your care if you’re just going to kill it?  That makes a lot of sense. Oh, and it gets worse. After they made the decision to kill Marius (after having several offers from other sanctuaries to take him), they actually thought it would be a good idea to make his death and dissection public…so it all took place in gory, graphic detail in front of zoo visitors, many of whom were children.  Don’t even get me started on the parents who thought it would be a good idea for the kids to see a giraffe shot with a captive bolt, chopped up and fed to lions.  Oh wait.  These are the same lions they just euthanized.  How wonderful. It’s come full circle.

I mean, hey – let’s pack up the kids, honey! We’re going to Denmark! This zoo sounds like it knows exactly what it’s doing. Fair warning though, Little Jonny, if I see a cuter kid than you I might have to put you down so I can upgrade. That’s apparently fair game there.

30 thoughts on “Zoo Blues

  1. Reblogged this on Pass the SAFE Act! and commented:
    I advocate for horses and donkeys, and they are considered more like a commodity than a living being. Seems like our mental acumen when it comes to animals fits in perfectly with Denmark, since both of these species, whether in the USA or Denmark, are considered expendable. Just shameful

    • Thanks for reblogging! Yes, you’re absolutely right — in the US there are far too many so-called “expendable” animals, just not the ones kept in a zoo (although look at Seaworld!). Dogs and puppies in puppy mills, horses, burros, just to name a few…and they all deserve better.

  2. I was, once again, horrified at what the Copenhagen Zoo thinks to be practical business. I’m angry, speechless, and appalled. I just couldn’t believe when I read the article about the four lions. I just wrote about Marius! Wasn’t that just last month, or Feb maybe? As much public outcry and national news that action brought, I was blown away that they’d do it again. WTF? I’m at the point of thinking all the people over there at that zoo who make these horrendous decisions are sociopathic in nature. They would have to be pretty close to it, no? This incident is going to be my topic when I get to the letter Z in the A-Z challenge. We live in a sad world. If people would just wake up and realize that these animals are sentient beings, that they have souls, that they are capable of emotion… But no, money and convenience seems to be the order of the day at Copenhagen Zoo. And they’re not the only ones… Thanks for posting this and helping to bring awareness!

  3. This kind of treatment of animals world-wide is criminal. Why do we need zoos? Why export animals to live, in a lot of zoos, in cages or small areas where they can’t exercise properly and are treated inhumanely? Some places, such as the San Diego compound, allow more freedom and natural habitat for their animals, but these kinds of zoos are few and far between. Okay, enough of my rant .

    • I think it’s good to rant! It gets attention for important issues. Zoos in general have made great strides in creating better habitats for their animals…sadly many don’t have the funding to do so. And even with the best habitats, it’s not as good as a preserve or sanctuary where they are free. And then of course you have idiotic zoos like Copenhagen who view their animals as expendable…something a zoo or sanctuary should never do.

  4. My partner is Danish, and we were talking about this the other day. He and I both think this situation is horribly disgusting. Taking an animal into your care, is making a promise to that animal that you will be responsible for their well being, and killing those lions is a betrayal in my opinion. Not only that, but lion numbers are dwindling; our planet can’t afford to lose even 4 of them. It’s irresponsible to the world.

    • I’m sure there were many things the zoo could have chosen to do and didn’t. They claim there were no offers for the lions but I find that hard to believe. When the giraffe was killed, they had many public offers from sanctuaries and killed him anyway. It’s just terrible I think.

      • It’s such a shame how cheap life is to some people. I wrote a poem once expressing this concept; by memory it went

        “..we were given this
        beautiful world
        to share
        with all life;

        so why don’t
        the trees and
        animals have the
        same rights..?”


  5. It is totally disgusting! I have a hard time coping with zoos. I loved them as a child but, as an adult realizing that most of them are there because the human animal has taken too much of their territory. I have a friend who does volunteer work at Melbourne zoo here in Australia & she explained that thankfully Melbourne zoo as well as many others aren’t part of the same group & do not follow the same backwards thinking as you witted about here.

    It just makes you want to go up to the fool(s) who made the decision & see if they think we should apply the same thought process to THEIR lives. Maybe that would get them thinking a lot clearer. Surely these beautiful creatures could have been given a sanctuary or perhaps a “rehab” back into the wild were the #’s of lions is getting dangerously low.
    I’ll try to tweet this if my phone behaves 🙂

    • Many if not most zoos, even those with little funding, strive to make the best habitat they can for the animals and their goal is to protect and save the ones in their care as well as the species as a whole. But there are a few like this Copenhagen Zoo who just see the animals as expendable and exploit them as much as they can. They look at the animals as more of a money making product I guess which is shameful. Thank you for sharing the post on twitter, I think this issue deserves exposure.

  6. Holy smokes, I can’t believe it, this is despicable!! I’m glad your raising awareness to this going on… I’m sorry, I have no words, I’m that shocked!

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