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Marius The Giraffe Skinned In Front Of Children And Fed To Lions (GRAPHIC PICTURES)

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UPDATE: Second Giraffe Called Marius At Another Danish Zoo Faces Being Put Down

Marius the giraffe has been skinned in front of children and fed to lions.

The healthy two-year-old giraffe was put down on Sunday at Copenhagen Zoo to prevent in-breeding causing an international furore.

Online petitions and even an offer from a wildlife park in Yorkshire to give it a home were not enough to grant a stay of execution.

marius

The public was invited to view the dissection

Marius was put down using a bolt pistol and fed to lions at the zoo.

Visitors, including children, were invited to watch while the giraffe was dissected.

The decision to kill Marius was prompted by the strict inter-breeding rules of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria to which the zoo belongs.

marius

Lethal injection wasn't used as it would taint the meat

Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Copenhagen zoo, defended the decision, telling the BBC the campaign to save him had "gone too far".

Giraffes had to be selected to make sure the best genes were being passed down, he said.

marius

"Giraffes today breed very well, and when they do you have to choose and make sure the ones you keep are the ones with the best genes," he told the BBC.

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