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Danish zoo may kill second giraffe named Marius

  • This handout photo released on February 11, 2014 shows a veterinarian making an open to public autopsy on a giraffe Marius on February 9 at a zoo in Copenhagen. AFP PHOTO / Scanpix Denmark /// KASPER PALSNOV / DENMARK OUT

COPENHAGEN: Just days after a Copenhagen zoo sparked global outrage by putting down a healthy giraffe named Marius, another Danish zoo says it may do the same thing to a giraffe with the same name.

The Jyllands Park Zoo, near the town of Herning, said Thursday that it may have to kill one of its giraffes, coincidentally also named Marius, because his genes make him unsuitable for breeding.

"We can't keep him if we get a female, because then we would have two males that would fight with each other," zoo keeper Janni Loejtved Poulsen told AFP.

Seven-year-old Marius is healthy but is less of a priority for breeders since his genes are already represented in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP), which the zoo joined just over a year ago.

The zoo received a purebred male in April that is considered a higher priority by the EEP.

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

If the European organisation is unable to find Marius a new home, the Jyllands Park Zoo will have to put him down, she said.

Last week, the scientific director of Copenhagen's zoo received death threats after Marius, an 18-month-old giraffe, was put down despite thousands signing an online petition to save him.

The animal was later skinned and dissected in front of visitors, many of them children.

Copenhagen Zoo said it had no choice other than to prevent the animal attaining adulthood, since under European Association of Zoos and Aquaria rules, inbreeding between giraffes is to be avoided.

Many Danes have been surprised and even angered by international reactions to the event, and a video of Holst putting a British news presenter "in his place" went viral in Denmark this week.

"It's not cruel, its natural and carnivores live from meat," Holst told Channel 4 News.

 
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