Seriously? Now Denmark May Kill Another Giraffe Named Marius

Most species of giraffes aren’t considered endangered, but if you are a giraffe named Marius living in a Danish zoo, your days are probably numbered. Shortly after Copenhagen Zoo killed Marius, a young and healthy giraffe, Jyllands Park Zoo announced that it not only also has a giraffe named Marius, but that it is considering killing this giraffe as well.

The outrage over the first Marius’s death had hardly subsided when Jyllands Park, a zoo in the western part of Denmark, acknowledged similar intentions. According to zoo officials, a plan to breed giraffes on the premises would mean that Marius is no longer welcome since he lacks desirable genes.

At the moment, Marius lives at the Jyllands Park Zoo as a platonic companion to a fellow male giraffe. Zookeepers consider this other giraffe to have more diverse DNA, making him better suited for reproducing. If and when a female is brought in, Marius will have to be either relocated to another zoo or executed. After seven years in captivity, zookeepers say Marius would not survive if introduced to the wild.

“We will of course try to place him in a suitable zoo,” said Jesper Mohring-Jensen, a zoologist at Jyllands Park. “But if that is not possible, we might have to euthanize him.”

Many animal lovers rightfully object to the term “euthanize” in this instance. Since Marius is not suffering, putting him down would be an act of convenience rather than kindness.

Others are worried about Jyllands Park’s commitment to finding Marius a home, particularly since another zookeeper delivered a conflicting message. “We are completely behind Copenhagen and would have done the same,” said Janni Løjtved Poulsen. She added that her zoo would not be influenced if a similar protest movement were to emerge around this Marius.

Part of the controversy surrounding the now-deceased Marius is that he was shot in the head and then dissected in front of an audience of families and children for entertainment/education. Representatives for Jyllands Park say they are not yet sure whether they would take a similar course of action if it were to kill their own Marius.

The repetitive scenario begs another question – in a country with multiple words for “blonde”, why is there only one name for a giraffe? The fact that there are (or were) two Marius-es seems to be a coincidence. Marius is a common name in Denmark. Though the name literally means “male” in Latin, more recently the name seems to signify a death sentence.

Since Jyllands Park has no immediate arrangements to bring in a female, Marius will be safe at least for the short term. Given the number of international zoos that stepped forward to offer to adopt Cophenagen’s Marius, hopefully a successful transfer can be arranged when that time comes.

You can help put the pressure on Jyllands Park to spare Marius’s life by signing this petition. If the zoo sees just how many animal lovers are outraged by the death of a giraffe, it may go above and beyond the Copenhagen Zoo in order to avoid a swelling of negative publicity.


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for the article.

Carrie-Anne Brown

already signed, thanks for sharing :)

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

Charlotte G. must be Danish.. cold hearted murder fills her heart. No Charlotte, you are not allowed to commit murder for your sadistic pleasure.. what if it was you under threat of death because you were "surplus" and it's the "way of nature" or whatever dark excuse comes from the dark minds of human psychopaths. Your protests would reach the stratosphere. And you certainly are surplus there are 7 billion humans who have become a liability to all life on earth. Next time you speak think about that.

Mark Donner
Mark Donner2 years ago

I vote for slaughtering that criminal liability called zoo director and feeding him to the lions... he's a lot less valuable than the animals.

Eleonora Oldani
Eleonora Oldani2 years ago

To Linda K. - sorry I didn't reply to your answer but I didn't get a notification in my inbox (?); it was not lacking politeness from my side ;-).

I agree with you on the witch-hunt point - it's all too easy. I've done some reading over the past days regarding zoos and their breading programs and got confirmed what I advocate since a long time: close the zoos, don't supply them with new animals, spay/neuter and take care of the animals until they die a natural death. We don't need them anymore today (as for me - we never needed them!) in the time of movies and internet. It's passé - it has outlived itself.

BTW - Denmark not only banned halal slaughtering but also kosher slaughtering (Jewish); they are one and the same except that the words are different. There's a big hoopla going on here if you're interested: I just think it's sad how people (with ulterior motives or problems) take such articles always as an opportunity to bash other religions, cultures and traditions and lose focus of the real problem.

Stay safe!

Linda Kristensen
Linda K.2 years ago

" I've recommended again and again to watch the docu "Earthlings" and spoken out on countless occasions against animal and human abuse; but do you truly believe we first have to present all of our credentials re worse cases and what we’ve done there before we are allowed to speak up? I don't think so ... "

I will watch it.

No, you do not have to present credentials, fair point. But I think it dangerous to witch-hunt one zoo for something many zoos and I think all breeders do, because it effectively smokescreens the extent of the problem, the fact that this is not a problem with one zoo, but with a whole concept concerning breeding.

There is no quick fix for that, and we do not get to be heroes by making a click on a petition which simply hides the extent of the problem. We would have to do a lot more, as I read that you do, Eleonora.

Linda Kristensen
Linda K.2 years ago

"It's unthoughtful - childish would be a better word - to call a whole nation barbarians and proclaim to never ever travel there again because of what happened to Marius ..."

I do agree, there barbarians have just passe a law that forbids butchering animal without anesthesia, meaning halal butchering is now forbidden.

Gary B.
Gary B.2 years ago

FIRE Janni Løjtved Poulsen, then euthanize her. Coldhearted b.....

Michelle M.
Michelle M.2 years ago

i might not agree with some of these things but i understand them. but what i BELIEVE is if you are not going to have and keep and LOVE an animal for its whole life (while it's healthy) then don't get it to begin with. i will only put an animal down when it's sick/old. young and healthy? i'm thinkin the owners/handlers need to be put down instead.

Cathleen K.
Cathleen K.2 years ago

Oh, good grief. While I appreciate the need to manage the genetic diversity within the breeding stock of the European zoological association, and understood the reasoning behind the killing of the first Marius, when I opened the link above to the CNN interview with the zookeepers at Jyllands Park, it gave me real pause. They have room for only two giraffes, this second Marius and the one they wish to breed, the older brother of the first Marius! I'm assuming that they had only one parent in common, but that still leaves them with a lot of shared genetic material. The problem here is that they are conducting too much breeding for the space they have available. Any zoo that has room for only two giraffes is going to be keeping them in a small enclosure, where they live, essentially, in jail like conditions. Zoos like this simply should not exist. Large zoos, where the animals have several acres on which to roam, give animals some quality of life and should be the only type still in business.