Moscow zoo condemns euthanasia of lions at Copenhagen zoo

The Moscow Zoo does not approve of yet more killings of animals at the Copenhagen Zoo, where, after Marius the giraffe was killed, four African lions - two old ones and their two ten-month-old cubs - were put down because of the arrival of a new male.

The Moscow Zoo does not approve of yet more killings of animals at the Copenhagen Zoo, where, after Marius the giraffe was killed, four African lions - two old ones and their two ten-month-old cubs - were put down because of the arrival of a new male.

"While The Moscow Zoo understands the whole situation, we cannot approve of such a decision because we believe that in the absence of conditions for keeping all the animals, new ones should not be acquired, even for the purpose of improving genetic diversity," Moscow Zoo said on its website.

An animal should not be killed just because it is old, it said. "We often receive complaints about 'old animals' in our enclosures, but that is our principled decision. Whenever there is a choice, we try to keep the animal alive no matter what, even if it does not look the way one would want it to," Moscow Zoo said.

It emerged earlier that a pair of old African lions and their two ten-month-old cubs were put down at Copenhagen Zoo.

The Danish zoo explained this decision by receiving a young African male lion from another zoo on March 24. Very soon the lion will be mated with two lionesses born two years ago at the zoo to make up a new pride of lions in Copenhagen. Regrettably, the zoo does not have room for accommodating all its predators, and an unpopular decision was made about the euthanasia of two old lions and two lion cubs. In nature, in the event of changes in the pride (a lion family), the dominant male, a young, stronger lion replaces the old one. The defeated male is chased out of the pride, and its offspring are normally killed by the newcomer. To avoid a similar situation, the Copenhagen Zoo administration made the unpopular decision about the euthanasia of the old and young animals. No other zoo wanted to take the cubs, and their parents, a 16-year-old male and a 14-year-old female were nearing the limit of their natural life expectancy for lions in captivity.

In similar cases, in particular, to enhance the genetic diversity of any particular population of any species in captivity, the rules of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria that includes Copenhagen Zoo as a member, allow the use of euthanasia with respect to problematic animals.

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