ZOOS How Many Animals are Killed Each Year?

Posted by Axel Thorer on 1. Februar 2017

Thousands and far too many, but it's probably unavoidable ...

The Lion Logo of the EAZA

WHO’S RIGHT, WHO’S WRONG? I don’t know, I can’t come to a conclusion. Sometimes I think they have to do it, sometimes I think they shouldn’t. To kill old, aggressive and redundant animals in captivity, seems to be necessary – and there is an public uproar only, if 1 The animal has a name, 2 Is therefore well known to the visitors, 3 It is an animals with eyes, lashes and a voice, 4 It is endangered, 5 It is well liked basically as a species. Nobody is shocked when a Zoo kills 20 newborn pythons or a bunch of spiders. But kill a giraffe or a lion, their is an outcry on five continents (like when they killed a giraffe in the Odense Zoo in Denmark). The never call it „kill“, they use the term „cull“, which sounds much softer. But if you dig a little deeper, you will find that just the 321 members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) cull between 3000 and 5000 animals a year. Necessary? Well, obviously. EAZA members host about 900 giraffes momentarily, mostly females, because they form herds which are more peaceful, age better – and they can reproduce! Inbreeding is a reason for culling, as well as over-population. „Bring them back to Africa“, animal lovers shout; but these Zoo creatures wouldn’t survive a week in the wild! „Swap them with other institutions“; nice idea and it’s done; EAZA has a very able director who organizes the distribution of redundant animals all over Europe and beyond, or let’s they: He tries. It done without a price tag, the receiving Zoo pays for the transport only. So far, so good. But nobody wants, for instance, giraffes. They have too many in captivity, of five subspecies. That’s another problem: Mixing subspecies to create hybrids? No good. And should they send lions, grown up in spacious Safari Park habitats, to a Zoo with small prison cells only? Big problems, but it’s important, I think, that you know about it …

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