Copenhagen Zoo employees on Sunday killed a young male giraffe named Marius because he wouldn't serve as good breeding stock. On Sunday morning, the animal was fed to lions after being euthanized with a bolt gun, then dissected in public. Zoo officials explained their decision on the zoo's website and to the press.
Sterlizing the unwanted giraffe would have burdened the zoo with a unwanted animal, the zoo said.
"If we just sterilize him, he will take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes," Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN.
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The zoo doesn't use contraceptives to prevent unwanted giraffe births.
"In Copenhagen Zoo we let the animals breed naturally," said Holst on the zoo's website. "Contraceptives have a number of unwanted side effects on the internal organs and we would therefore apply a poorer animal welfare if we did not euthanize."
The giraffe was euthanized despite more than 27,000 signatures on a petition to save it, reported CNN. One person even offered to pay 500,000 euros ($680,000) for the giraffe, reported the BBC.