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Marius, a 2-year-old, healthy giraffe, was put down Sunday for seemingly unnecessary reasons.
The Copenhagen Zoo administrators said they decided to put down the young giraffe to control inbreeding. The zoo decided that the giraffe's genes were already represented among the zoo, so they decided to put him down to stop him from breeding, according to the New York Times.
After an autopsy was performed, and the cause of death was determined as a gun shot blast, Marius was dismembered in front of an audience that included children, and fed to the lions at the zoo, reports CNN.
Despite the fact that an online petition that consisted of over 30,000 signatures against killing the giraffe was provided to the zoo, as well as bids of over $600,000 to adopt the giraffe and even death threats, zoo officials decided to go ahead with the killing.
When asked why they could not just sterilize Marius, Scientific Director of the Copenhagen Zoo, Bengt Holst, responded, "If we just sterilize him, he will take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes."