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Denmark zoo kills giraffe, feeds it to lions in front of visitors

The carcass of Marius, a male giraffe, is eaten by lions after he was put down in Copenhagen Zoo on Sunday. (Photo: Associated Press)
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STOCKHOLM (AP) - Officials at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark say they received death threats after the zoo killed a 2-year-old giraffe and fed its remains to lions.

Marius, a male giraffe, lies dead before being dissected, after he was put down at Copenhagen Zoo on Sunday. Copenhagen Zoo turned down offers from other zoos and 500,000 euros ($680,000) from a private individual to save the life of a healthy giraffe before killing and slaughtering it Sunday to follow inbreeding recommendations made by a European association. The 2-year-old male giraffe, named Marius, was put down using a bolt pistol and its meat will be fed to carnivores at the zoo, spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said. Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was dissected.

Zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said Monday that he and the zoo's scientific director, Bengt Holst, received several threats over the telephone and in emails. They quoted one email as saying: "The children of the staff of Copenhagen Zoo should all be killed or should get cancer."

The giraffe, Marius, was killed Sunday using a bolt pistol, then skinned and fed to lions in front of visitors, including children.

The killing triggered a wave of online protests and debate about zoo conditions.

The zoo said it killed Marius to prevent inbreeding, and it defended the public feeding as a display of scientific knowledge about animals.

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