Zoo euthanises lions, cubs

17:58, Mar 25 2014
Marius the Giraffe
HAPPIER DAYS: Marius the giraffe is pictured in Copenhagen Zoo on February 7, just days before he was shot by zoo staff, cut up and fed to lions.

A Danish zoo that faced protests for killing a healthy giraffe to prevent inbreeding says it has put down four lions, including two cubs, to make room for a new male lion.

Citing the "pride's natural structure and behaviour," the Copenhagen Zoo said Tuesday that two old lions had been euthanised as part of a generational shift. It said the cubs were also put down because they were not old enough to fend for themselves and "anyway would have been killed by the new male lion".

Zoo officials hope the new male and two females born in 2012 will form the nucleus of a new pride.

Last month the zoo triggered a wave of protests by killing a 2-year-old giraffe, and feeding its remains to the lions as visitors watched.

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AP