Hamilton Zoo's giraffes on safe ground

19:24, Feb 11 2014
Hamilton Zoo
DINNER TIME: Hamilton Zoo runs a bachelor herd meaning a cull of residents to prevent inbreeding is never likely. `

Hamilton Zoo is chock-a-block with giraffes, but don't expect a public butchery session any time soon.

"We certainly wouldn't be post morteming an animal like a giraffe on public display," said Hamilton Zoo Director Stephen Standley after the controversial public slaying of an 18-month-old giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo at the weekend.

Standley was reluctant to condemn the European zoo's actions but said he wouldn't make the same decision. Copenhagen Zoo ignored a 20,000 strong petition to save Marius which it shot before dissecting him in front of young children and feeding his remains to the lions.

Its actions, protecting the genetic purity of the breeding programme, prompted death threats towards zoo staff.

Copenhagen Zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek Bro said he was "proud" of the zoo's scientific display.

"I think we have given children a huge understanding of the anatomy of a giraffe that they wouldn't have had from watching a giraffe in a photo," he said.


Standley said: "At the end of the day, we're in a completely different region, different cultural context. We're going to have a different approach to things than they may in Denmark but . . . they've thought out their approach to animal management in the context of the programmes in Europe."

Sometimes euthanasia had to be considered, he said, although he wasn't aware of past cases in Australasia.

Inter-zoo transfers, contraception, separation of males and females, and planned introductions were also used.

Hamilton man Rob Scovell described Copenhagen Zoo's stance as ridiculous with a tongue-in-cheek posting on his Facebook page: "I'm going to petition Hamilton Zoo to do a series of public autopsies, starting small with, say, lizards, moving on through Kiwi birds, then the elephant for the grand finale!"

Waikato Times