RIP Marius – Young Giraffe Killed By Zoo
  • 10
  • Feb

RIP Marius – Young Giraffe Killed by Zoo

Yesterday, Marius, an 18-month-old giraffe, was killed by the Copenhagen Zoo and fed to lions, as he was considered useless for breeding.

This is no surprise. Zoos, including those in Britain, will often breed animals in captivity and create babies in an effort to keep drawing in paying visitors – yet often, there’s nowhere to put the offspring as they grow, and they are destroyed.

Wildlife documentaries have opened people’s eyes to the fact that a zoo is just an animal prison. The death of Marius should be a wake-up call for anyone who still harbours the illusion that zoos serve any purpose beyond incarcerating intelligent animals for profit.

Giraffes rarely die of old age in captivity, and had Marius not been killed today, he would have lived out his short life as a living exhibit, stranded in a cold climate, thousands of miles away from his true home.

Marius Giraffe

Breeding programmes serve no true conservation purpose because giraffes and other animals born in zoos are rarely, if ever, returned to their natural habitats. They are treated as baby-makers and visitor attractions in a zoo’s “swap-and-shop” programme, which gives the public a false sense that something meaningful has happened.

The education argument doesn’t cut it, either. Seeing bored, depressed and often mad animals pacing, swaying or circling constantly teaches children nothing about real animal behaviour – we certainly wouldn’t take our children to prison in order to teach them about human behaviour. They can learn far more valuable and inspiring lessons by watching nature documentaries that show wild animals where they belong, going on virtual field trips or watching IMAX movies.

PETA urges everyone who genuinely cares about giraffes and all the other individuals serving life sentences in zoos to avoid patronising such “attractions” and instead donate to campaigns that actually protect animals in their native habitats.


Images: “Marius the giraffe” by Didde Elnif / CC BY-NC 2.0

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  1. avatar Julia says:

    I will never support a zoo again. And many people say “without zoos, these animals would be extinct” I say that it is called natural selection. Some people poach and kill animals for their valuables, and I do not call that natural selection. Instead of taking in exotic animals that are being “saved” from the unnatural poaching, they should just make a law against poaching and keep a strict eye on the lands that this act happens.

  2. avatar Dayna Dye says:

    to JB

    PETA does write about factory farmed animals.

    Like the woman in the story when asked why she threw the starfish on the shore back into the sea when there were so many others who would die, “It matters to this one.”

    “Any man’s death diminishes me,
    Because I am involved in mankind,
    And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
    It tolls for thee.: – John Donne

    In a way, all deaths diminish us, not just “any man’s.” And while one can appreciate the up-close encounter with animals that zoos offer, are animals here for us? It is my opinion that they are not here for my entertainment, but to live their own lives in their own ways. This precious creature didn’t ask to live in a zoo.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and God bless.

  3. So what if the Giraffe was useless for breeding ! You couldn’t find other meat or pet food to feed the Lions. What you did was STUPID and Cruel !!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. avatar Sheryl says:

    Yes,i;m getting sick of this ,killing animnals for your fun games ,of hunting and killing the baby,and the killing of all the animals are so uncanning that Fathers let their kids go hunting ,STOP THE KILLING AND JUST MAYBE WE ALL CAN WORK TOGETHER,so lets do that

  5. The grisly spectacle of Marius’s execution and what followed makes Denmark look like a nation of monsters. What kind of “scientists” do such a thing? What kind of veterinarian puts a gun to the head of a healthy young animal and kills it rather than insisting that he be allowed to find sanctuary elsewhere and live out his life in peace? What kind of people take their children to watch a beloved animal being killed, butchered, and fed to lions? Now another Danish zoo is set to kill another giraffe, also named Marius, to “make room” for a female. That zoo’s director finds it “amusing” that both giraffes have the same name.

    But please don’t damn all zoos because those in Denmark are run by heartless people who should never be allowed near animals. Yes, many zoos are dreadful and should be shut down. But some, such as the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC, are seriously dedicated to saving endangered species. The NZ has indeed been part of breeding programs that released animals in the wild. And while I believe that animals such as elephants, cheetahs, and tigers don’t belong in zoos, I sadly accept that these species are being slaughtered by poachers in such numbers that they are safer in well-run zoos than in the wild. If humans don’t change their lunatic behavior, we will soon have none of these animals left outside of zoos.

  6. avatar Sherron paasch says:

    There is no forgiveness for this kind of behaviour. It is unforgivable!,,

  7. avatar Suzanne Powis says:

    How on earth could something like this ever happen? Is this a regular occurrence at any zoo? Why in the name of God was this even considered let alone sanctioned? Zoos are supposed to care for the animals and protect them aren’t they? Just what is going on behind the scenes at zoos? Surely there are rules and regulations governing procedures? I just can’t believe that any life no matter what form it exists in could become surplus to requirement??? Just when you think that Humanity is making a come back. Please please please lets take steps to ensure that this never happens again. I hope that this and any other incident like it will be fully investigated and those responsible are punished severely. How do they sleep at night? Shame on them and shame on any other zoos that have policies like this.

  8. avatar Rachel says:

    The article fails to mention that several other zoos and wildlife parks in Europe did offer to take Marius to save him from being destroyed.

  9. avatar Liz says:

    This animal was put to death in a barbaric way under the recommendation of the gormless idiot in charge of EAZA. Bengt Holst was just following orders. If you wish you wish to let her know how you feel her email is

  10. avatar Liz says:

    There are several online petitions calling for the dismissal of Bengt Holst and Lesley Dickie. They have caused consternation among conservationists trying to protect giraffes in their natural habitats in Africa. This action gives an encouraging message to poachers and farmers to kill giraffes at will. Just google the names and the petitions will show up.

  11. avatar Dianne Nezgoda says:

    God bless the beasts….

  12. avatar Kathryn wilkinson says:

    I have been living in an unreal world for my fifty six years and only now do I start to relies what the zoos are up to its just a money making racket to line the owners pockets.

    How disgusting. I will never go to a zoo again.

    I am so sad for these animals. Glad you are out there to help them.

  13. avatar Julia says:

    It’s just a shame!
    It reminds me the Hitler times when fashists killed the “wrong” people…

    Shame on you Danmark!!

  14. avatar Judy Reina says:

    This incident has caused me to loose many nights of sleep. It saddens me to my very cord. What is worse, it seems there is nothing that can be done. Animal abuse is so widespread and seems unstoppable. The human race is so vicious and sadistic and I feel this is world wide. Humans will wind up destroying themselves from within! RIP Marius, you are not forgotten.

  15. avatar Edna Kampe says:

    I will never visit a zoo again. Thank you PETA for opening my eyes to so many horrendous acts of animal abuse and murder….I am sad and disgusted.

  16. avatar Maria Bertrand says:

    Animals are not our property. Let them live free.
    I WILL NEVER VISIT A ZOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  17. avatar Defne says:

    People say putting an animal into a zoo is saving them from whatever, they don’t do it to ‘save’ them, they do it for the money they earn from people stupidly staring at animal, when I was small I used to beg to go to the zoo because I loved animals ever since, now I’ve lost all interest. The best way to ‘save’ an animal is put them in a wild life centre, a wide area with a fence around it, only with their SPEICE and other animals that won’t hurt them, this is sad, truly cruel, murdering an one year and a half old foul just because it can’t breed, SHAME on you Denmark. This must stop.

  18. avatar barbara says:

    Teraz podobny los może spotkać żyrafę z kolejnego duńskiego ogrodu. Decyzję podjęto, bo jak tłumaczą jego przedstawiciele, nie ma tam już dla niej miejsca. Podobnie jak w przypadku Mariusa, krakowskie zoo próbuje uratować zwierzę. Dyrektor Józef Skotnicki zaoferował pomoc i chce przygarnąć żyrafę z Półwyspu Jutlandzkiego. Jednak niewiadomo czy propozycja spotka się z zainteresowaniem

  19. avatar Rajini says:

    Yes, I agree We should not visit Zoo’s but instead go and see them in wildlife parks if interested, all these Zoo’s are mostly commercial for just making money, the animals are living in prison at Zoo’s.

    Humans worldwide take animals for granted and abuse them in any way and every way that is possible. Thanks to PETA for bringing the facts to people like us who care about animals and are willing to do what ever we can to make animals not suffer.

  20. avatar Cheryl says:

    I love giraffes. I always have, since I was a small child. I have always thought that they were some of the most beautiful animals on the earth. Watching them run, or just stretch up to eat something off of a tree, or gently bending down to drink water, is a captivating, beautiful sight. They are gentle creatures. And, they do not kill to eat or stay alive. I just can’t believe a zoo did something like that. I thought zoos were places where people went to look at the creatures that God put here on earth. I hope this story reaches every ear so that this crime against animals will never be done again. I will never go to a zoo again.

  21. avatar Charlene says:

    I was sick to my stomach when I opened up my newspaper and saw a picture of Marius lying dead with a group of spectators looking on. The vet (really) was holding the knife that he was going to butcher the giraffe with. It was so disgusting. What parent would allow his child to witness such cruelty.

    Marius could have been sterilized. He could have been sent to a sanctuary. Murder is unacceptable.

    Denmark is not on my list of countries to visit any more.

  22. avatar KIM RIZZO says:

    this is just so horrendous…especially when there were other options to relocate that poor sweet animal!! I really shudder to think what will happen to all the animals in zoos when we stop going to them…there will be no income to feed them…what then??? will they feed them to each other or how about we feed the ridiculous idiots who make these decisions to the animals in zoos!!!!

  23. avatar Judy says:

    I will never visit a zoo that kills animals. One day we will have no animals in the future. Marius sweet dreams xxxx

  24. avatar Sidath says:

    Animals have their own world. We have no right to interfere with this world but to interact peacefully and co-exist. Unfortunately, humans have become monsters. God, please help!

  25. avatar Citizen says:

    A pathetic and cowardly act by people who think they can do anything. Shame on the people who did the and we part of the decision making. I think if they looked closely they would have definitely seen some incest in their own homes or society that needs to be addressed rather than killing innocent animals. Pathetic and shame on you.

  26. avatar Tammy Wood says:

    Actions speak louder than words. We need to organize a party to take these responsible Hitlers permanently out of commission. An eye for an eye.

  27. avatar cassandra says:

    disgusting and brutal why would anyone even think about doing thus to a perfectly healthy animal of any type. it make you feel ashamed to part of this race.

  28. avatar Olivia says:

    I posted my opinion about this sad act on the zoo’s facebook only to receive disturbing comments in which they try to explain me why this was perfectly OK for that zoo to do and that they are just following eu guidelines etc… It is so sad…

  29. avatar Elaine Fogarty says:

    The image I saw of this scared giraffe who knew its fate left me and many others disturbed. Worse that a Zoo employee allowed this hideous murder to take place and in front of small children left me cold. How dare Copenhagen Zoo be allowed to carry out this heinous animal abuse in the name of ‘selection’! The only way they are now viewed by many is that they are on a par with the world’s atrocities of culling! I hope that they are shut down, animals there are sent to caring sanctuaries and Copenhagen government wake up to the fact they are not living in the past where butchering animals was the norm. How dare they think this is ok. Despicable and shameful.

    To all of the parents who brought their small children to witness this, You are a disgrace to humanity and are devoid of moral fibre as is your Countries ethics.

  30. avatar kim quade says:

    THIS IS RIDICILOUS!! these poor animals..cant just be left to die of old age.girraffes are so majestic and beautiful…and now..nothing…
    this girraffe was a baby..couldnt of been that big of a meal for the lions..ridicilous…now they gonna kill a feed a rhino?? sounds like this zoo is about to go under..i say all AMERICAN ZOOS need to save these poor animals..if they did it once..theyll do it again..

  31. avatar CindyH74 says:

    In loving memory of Marius and to stop all future events like this from EVER happening again I beseech each and every animal lover out there to take a positive stand against such barbaric cruelity & boycott any and everything Dutch.

    What you can do for Marius is to PLEASE sign the Petition to fire the butcher director & help to close down the Copenhagen Zoo:

    See the following articles:

  32. avatar isabelle marie anguilm says:

    So sickeningly! You all should be ashamed for such disgusting acts of inhumanity… Its one thing to put down an animal who is ill but a healthy one and then to slaughterhouse him? I find it even worse to make it a show for people during the lion eating frenzy… My question to the supposed caretakers did you feel bad luring this healthy animal into a room to be put down? May god punish your souls!!!!

  33. avatar Yvonne Olman says:

    It is disgusting what they did. But it does not surprise me of Denmark, considering their annual slaughter of dolphins and whales:

  34. avatar Pia Hachem says:

    Call yourselves animal protectors, animal conservationists? Unfortunately, Zoos are just animal prisons, I think criminals in human prisons are treated with much more respect and dignity than how staff, in this particular Zoo in Copenhagen treat their so called precious animals. IS THIS ONE TACTIC THIS ZOO USED TO SAVE MONEY, AT THE EXPENSE OF THIS YOUNG GIRAFFE’S LIFE, SHAME ON YOU! If animal welfare is not the number one priority in places such as Zoos, then they should be closed down and animals re-homed somewhere they will be treated with dignity and respect, and allowed to live out their natural lives in an habitat the same as they would be living in the wild, or at least as close as possible, if there is no safe way for them to be returned to the wild.

  35. avatar BROWN-JONES says:

    Marius could have been saved and moved so SHAME on you all!

  36. avatar Ingrid Scholten says:

    I will never visit a zoo that kills animals.

  37. avatar Emma says:

    The thing I find a little bit difficult about this is that the food they feed the lions is already dead meat anyway… Who is caring about those animals here? Does it not occur that killing the baby giraffe is just as bad as the lions everyday meal anyway?

  38. avatar Emma says:

    Do feel sorry for Marius though…

  39. avatar Tammy Wood says:

    I would like to encourage you to boycott all Danish products and tourism. The Muslim web sites have boycott lists, as they are already boycotting them. Several that I know of are Danish butter cookes, Danish furniture and Shell oil company.

  40. avatar Rosie says:

    This is horrible to read.
    But does highlight one question.. where does the lions mean normally come from?
    Are the animals they are normally fed bred to be killed and eaten?
    Does anyone know?

  41. avatar Greg Stayart says:

    You are absolutely correct to boycott Denmark and Danish products to avenge the murder of Marius and the four lions. Philips Electronics is a Danish company which makes Norelco razors. Boycott all Philips Electronics and Norelco products. Also, boycott Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, the Shell Oil Company, and all the Danish products listed on the Muslim websites. Also boycott Lipton Tea, which is a Danish company. Boycott Ocean Spray cranberry juice and Ocean Spray cranberry-raspberry juice. These are just a few of the Danish products to boycott. Marius must never be forgotten. We must shut down the evil country of Denmark and all their evil zoos.

  42. […] Because this giraffe was killed and fed to lions when he had outlived his “usefulness.” […]

  43. avatar Mike says:

    So what! Lions have to eat too. You guys are a bunch of self righteous idiot.

  44. avatar LUCAS says:

    dear PeTA there are no local animal shelters where i live and i REALLY want a rabbit like REALLY the only place to get one where i live is a (gulp) pet store what should i do i can get rabbits online on a website called pets for homes where you can buy a rabbit or any animal for that matter from dogs to goldfish you can get them from different owners or animal shelters but i feel weird buying living things online like animal ebay only you have to go and collect the animals yourself

  45. avatar Chiara says:

    I can’t forget this terrible thing. I ‘ll never go to Denmarck. This thing sucks!

  46. avatar delaney says:

    That is the saddest thing I have ever heard. They should be a shame of their self

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