Danish zoo that culled giraffe Marius kills four healthy lions

Danish zookeepers say four lions had to be killed to make way for a new young male lion

LAST UPDATED AT 11:13 ON Wed 26 Mar 2014

THE Danish zoo that made headlines around the world last month by killing a perfectly healthy giraffe has now euthanised a family of lions.

The four animals were killed to make way for a new young male lion the zoo that is being brought in as part of its breeding programme.

"Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves," Copenhagen zoo said.

Zookeepers said that the cubs "would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance".

The zoo said it had contacted other animal sanctuaries to take the animals, but received no offers, the BBC reports.

Just last month, the four lions were fed the carcass of the two-year old giraffe Marius, who was killed because he too did not fit with the zoo's breeding programme.

Denmark's Organisation Against the Suffering of Animals described the latest killings as "immoral".

But the zoo's director, Steffen Straede, said that Copenhagen Zoo was internationally renowned for its work with lions, and insisted he was proud of the park's record. Straede added that in spite of the outcry after the killing of Marius the giraffe, the zoo did not feel compelled to change its procedures, which conform to the guidelines of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.

A spokesman for the zoo said that the lions would not be dissected publicly like Marius because "not all our animals are dissected in front of an audience". · 

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