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No plans to kill 2nd giraffe named Marius, Danish zoo says

By Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
February 15, 2014 -- Updated 1730 GMT (0130 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jyllands Park Zoo says there's no plan to kill one of its male giraffes, named Marius
  • There is no plan to send a female giraffe to the zoo for a breeding plan, the zoo says
  • A petition set up to save the Jyllands Park Zoo giraffe has more than 10,000 signatures
  • Last weekend Copenhagen Zoo killed a giraffe, also named Marius, to prevent in-breeding

(CNN) -- The decision by Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark to kill one of its giraffes last weekend sparked anguish. The news four days later that a second Danish zoo might follow suit prompted howls of outrage.

But Jyllands Park Zoo has now said that those fears are groundless. In a statement on its official Facebook page, under the heading "Problem solved," it said the giraffe's future was assured.

The zoo said Thursday it might also have to "euthanize" one of its male giraffes -- which coincidentally shares the name Marius with the giraffe that was killed -- if a female was brought in to breed.

But it now says the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria -- a body governing 345 institutions -- has no plans to send a female "any time soon."

As a result, the zoo said, it would "of course keep both our giraffes, as we have stated all along. There is no plan, and there has never been a plan to neither move or euthanize any of our giraffes."

A Danish zoo has euthanized a healthy male giraffe, named Marius, saying it had a duty to avoid inbreeding. This photo of the giraffe was taken on February 7. The 18-month-old giraffe was put down with a bolt gun on Sunday, February 9, according to a zoo spokesman. A Danish zoo has euthanized a healthy male giraffe, named Marius, saying it had a duty to avoid inbreeding. This photo of the giraffe was taken on February 7. The 18-month-old giraffe was put down with a bolt gun on Sunday, February 9, according to a zoo spokesman.
Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe
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Photos: Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe Photos: Danish zoo kills healthy giraffe
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Defending the decision to kill a giraffe

Jyllands Park Zoo said reporting of the threat to its Marius had been based on a "hypothetical situation" which "now seems to be eliminated."

The suggestion that a second Marius might be euthanized prompted a slew of angry comments on the zoo's Facebook page.

A petition on the website Change.org garnered more than 10,000 signatures.

"We are begging Jylland's Park Zoo to please begin a new trend by showing that there is a more compassionate alternative to surplus animals or animals deemed not fit to breed within your zoo," its author said.

"Allow Marius, the giraffe within your care, to live out his days at a sanctuary or wildlife park. Please, do not kill another animal when there are so many other options."

Dead giraffe fed to lions

The decision by Copenhagen Zoo to shoot its male giraffe named Marius to prevent inbreeding sparked wide fury.

Staff at the zoo received death threats as debate raged online over the killing, which took place despite another petition signed by thousands of animal lovers.

Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Copenhagen Zoo, told CNN the decision was made for the greater good of the giraffe population.

"Our giraffes are part of an international breeding program, which has a purpose of ensuring a sound and healthy population of giraffes," he said.

Copenhagen Zoo's Marius was shot by a veterinarian as he leaned down to munch on rye bread, a favorite snack. After a necropsy, the giraffe was dismembered in front of an audience that included children and fed to the zoo's lions, tigers and leopards.

READ: Opinion: Why arguments for killing of giraffe don't stand up to scrutiny

READ: Opinion: Why zoo was right to cull giraffe

READ: Zoo: Conservation isn't always clean

CNN's Bharati Naik and Zahra Ullah contributed to this report.

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