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(CNN) -- An online petition to save a healthy young giraffe from death has failed, despite thousands of signatures from animal lovers.
Copenhagen Zoo said it euthanized the male, named Marius, on Sunday because of a duty to avoid inbreeding.
After an autopsy, "Marius" was dismembered in front of a zoo audience that included children, and fed to the zoo's lions.
Despite online uproar over the move and reports of last-minute attempts to save the animal, the zoo in the Danish capital said it had no place for Marius in its giraffe herd.
Zoo puts down healthy giraffe
CNN anchor Jonathan Mann asked Holst if it would have been possible to sterilize Marius or move him to another zoo to avoid killing him.
"If we just sterilize him, he will take up space for more genetically valuable giraffes," Holst answered.
Did the children watching cry? Mann asked.
Just the opposite, Holst said. The crowd was "very enthusiastic" and "the kids asked good questions."
Fed to the lions
Marius was killed by a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, which would contaminate the meat.
The giraffe's impending death had sparked outrage online, with more than 27,000 people signing a "Save Marius" petition, appealing for a last-minute change of heart.
"The zoo has raised him so it is their responsibility to find him a home," author Maria Evans wrote on the petition site.
Copenhagen Zoo said that due to a massive debate on its Facebook page, it had published a Q&A about the decision on its website.
"It is not possible to transfer the giraffe to another zoo as it will cause inbreeding," it said.
Several zoos volunteered to take Marius in.
The UK's Yorkshire Wildlife Park, which says it has a state-of-the-art giraffe house and the capacity for an extra male, was among several places which put in offers to take him.
- Before the giraffe was killed, an online petition to save it had received more than 20,000 signatures.
- Stenbaek Bro said Copenhagen Zoo turned down an offer from a private individual who wanted to buy Marius for 500,000 euros ($680,000). Stenbaek Bro said a significant part of EAZA membership is that the zoos don’t own the animals themselves, but govern them, and therefore can’t sell them to anyone outside the organization that don’t follow the same set of rules.
-“It is no secret that animals are killed when there is no longer space, or if the animals don’t have genes that are interesting enough,” the organization said in a statement. “The only way to stop this is to not visit zoos.”
This was deliberate and used in their show. Entertainment.
No one here that eats meat of any kind has any room to make any noises of complaint.