In a bizarre plot twist that is sure to provoke anger, another giraffe at a second Danish zoo may meet the same fate as the giraffe named Marius who was euthanized and publicly autopsied at the Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark last Sunday -- and this giraffe is also named Marius. The new Marius, a healthy seven-year-old giraffe at the Jyllands Park Zoo, is considered unsuitable for breeding because his genetic makeup is already represented in the gene pool. The zoo said there was a high risk that Marius would have to be put down if the facility were to acquire a female giraffe to breed with the other male giraffe.
Janni Løjtved Poulsen, zookeeper at Jyllands Park, told the Guardian that it was not clear when the park would acquire a female giraffe.
"If we are told we have to euthanize [Marius] we would of course do that," said Poulsen, who also mentioned that the decision would be up to a breeding coordinator. When asked about the recent protests against the first Marius' death and the 27,000 people who signed a petition to save him, Poulson said, "It doesn't affect us in any way. We are completely behind Copenhagen and would have done the same."
A rough translation provided by Bing from a post on the zoo's Facebook page reads:
As some of you probably have read, seen or heard, Jyllands Park Zoo is also part of an international breeding cooperation. Cooperation means that the zoos involved are working closely together in order to maintain a healthy population of each species. This means that some animals may be killed in order to maintain this healthy stock and avoid inbreeding.
In Jyllands Park Zoo, in the long term, it may mean that one of our giraffes must be killed or taken away from the Park. If it is decided by the international breeding Coordinator that we can no longer have the giraffe, it may be, there is a place that can have him. On the other hand, if the international breeding Coordinator decides that he must be killed, then it is because it is considered to be the best in order to maintain a healthy herd of giraffes without inbreeding.
As for the duplicated name, it's pure coincidence, according to Poulson, who said her Marius was named after a former vet at the zoo, "We thought it was amusing that there was another Marius among the giraffes when there aren't that many giraffes in Denmark overall."
There is an online petition at Change.org to save Marius the giraffe at the Jylland Park Zoo.
ACTION GUIDE: Zoos and Aquariums
Hundreds of millions of people visit zoos every year, despite increasing public anxiety about animals in captivity. If you want to make sure you're at least visiting a zoo that makes efforts to be humane, make sure it is on the list of U.S. facilities accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; internationally accredited facilities are listed here by the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums. If you want to see whether a facility has any recent USDA violations, you can search this database. You can report a zoo or aquarium to the USDA here. And if you want to become active against having animals in captivity, Peta and Born Free USA offer places to start.