A SECOND Danish zoo has said it may have to put down one of its giraffes, despite a storm of protests following a similar move by Copenhagen Zoo.
The Jyllands Park Zoo said it might euthanise one of its giraffes, after Copenhagen Zoo put down an 18-month-old male named Marius on Sunday, to the disgust of animal lovers around the world.
The Jyllands Park Zoo giraffe is also called Marius.
Staff at Copenhagen Zoo have received death threats after Marius was euthanised because the animal’s genes were already well-represented in an international breeding programme that aims to maintain a healthy giraffe population in European zoos.
Jyllands Park Zoo, in Jutland, might put down its seven-year-old Marius if the zoo manages to acquire a female giraffe, which is likely, zoo keeper Janni Lojtved Poulsen said. The zoo also has a younger male called Elmer.
Ms Poulsen said: “We can’t have two males and one female. Then there will be fights.”
She said that it might be possible to find another home for the giraffe, but that the probability is small.
Like its namesake in Copenhagen, Jyllands Park Zoo’s Marius is considered unsuitable for breeding.
Ms Poulsen added: “If the breeding programme co-ordinator decides that he should be put down, then that’s what we’ll do.”
She said that zoos in Denmark have been killing surplus animals for many years and that the protests following Marius being euthanised in Copenhagen are not deterring Jyllands Park Zoo.
“Many places abroad where they do not do this, the animals live in poor conditions, and they are not allowed to breed either. We don’t think that’s OK,” she said.
The giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo was dissected in front of crowds and afterwards, some of the carcase was fed to other animals and some was sent to research projects in Denmark and abroad for study.
Ms Poulsen said Jyllands Park Zoo has not yet considered whether it should carry out a public dissection similar to the one in Copenhagen.
The zoo has just joined the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria breeding programme and is expecting to receive a female giraffe to mate with Elmer at some point.
“At the moment, there is no problem,” said zoologist Jasper Moehring. “Marius is good company for Elmer and they are a wonderful attraction.”
The news about Jyllands Park’s Marius has prompted an offer of a new home from the leader of the Chechen Republic.
Ramzan Kadyrov said on a social networking site: “On humanitarian grounds I am ready to take Marius. We can guarantee him good conditions and care.”