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On February 9th, 2014, an 18-month old giraffe named Marius was euthanized, cut into pieces, and fed to a lion in front of a crowd of onlookers at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark. The fact that this process was conducted as a spectacle to a crowd that included children, as well as questions over whether the death of the giraffe was necessary in the first place, caused widespread controversy on Twitter.
The zoo officials explained that they decided to euthanize the giraffe because its genes were deemed too common for the breeding population, as recommended by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA), which runs an international giraffe breeding program designed to promote genetic diversity. Though a number others zoos in Europe countries offered to house the giraffe, the zoo declined to transfer the animal, citing regulations of the EAZA membership and risks of inbreeding.
The Petition Site
On February 8th, 2014, Maria Evans started a petition titled “Save Marius the giraffe from the bolt gun NOW” on The Petition Site. She set a goal of 28,000 signatures and gained just over 27,000. After Marius death she added a statement saying:
“Thank you to everyone who signed the petition to save Marius the giraffe. Sadly, the Copenhagen Zoo went ahead with its plans and, on Sunday, February 9, Marius was killed. He was publicly dissected in front of visitors to the zoo and then his remains fed to the lions.
You can still take action by signing this petition calling for the Copenhagen Zoo to remove Bengt Holst from his position as scientific director."