A Danish zoo plans to dissect a one-year-old female lion who was put down with a bolt gun some time ago and stored in a freezer. The dissection will take place in front of anyone who wishes to attend including children and is said to be for educational reasons and not entertainment. There are protests about this although in general the Danish people find it acceptable.
The problem is this. The reason why they deliberately killed this one-year-old female lion is because there wasn’t enough space in the zoo and she was likely to inbreed with her father which quite obviously the management wished to avoid. That said inbreeding between captive wild cat species is not uncommon. They have small gene pools to work from – a failing of zoos as I see it.
They say putting the female lion to sleep was a last resort but surely the fact that they got to the position where they had to deliberately kill a one-year-old female lion indicates that they are mismanaging their zoo. Why can’t they ensure that they they limit the number of lions to a maximum number? Perhaps they thought they could sell the lion to another zoo and failed in that objective. In March 2014 I reported the killing of four lions in a Copenhagen zoo due to there being to many lions at the zoo; a similar problem.
They say that they are engaged in conservation but for the life of me I can’t see any conservation work in what they are doing by breeding too many lions and then having to kill them at a young age and then dissect them for so-called educational purposes.
The manager says that their purpose is to preserve species not individual animals. That seems to be a very coldhearted statement and not the sort of statement that should be made by a person in charge of looking after animals.
The same zoo faced protests not so long ago after a healthy 2-year-old giraffe was put down to prevent inbreeding and was then, in the same way, dissected in front of a crowd which included children and then (the final ignominy) feed to lions.
The management say that people should not mix up animals and people and we should have a different attitude towards animals than we do towards people and that this difference in attitude justifies what they are doing.
There seems to be something wrong with this attitude, at least for me. Zoos don’t help conservation, in truth. Some zoos might help in a minor way but in general zoos are a failure in that respect so when a Danish zoo behaves like this it is hard to justify their existence except for the purpose of making money out of exploiting animals. That’s the bottom line.