A 300-kilogram giraffe was put to death at a zoo in the Czech Republic and staff members fed it to the lions instead of letting it go to waste.
Following social media publication of the picture of a lion consuming a giraffe’s corpse and the announcement that its geriatric, nineteen-year-old Rothschild giraffe had been put down, Ostrava Zoo received a flood of complaints.
A spokesperson for the zoo, Arka Nováková, said, “The giraffe first fell down, was breathing heavily and did not get up again. Everything pointed to heart failure. Due to the general condition, hypoxia, age, and stress of the animal, we proceeded to euthanize it.”
The zoo wrote on Facebook and added, “Meat from [a] more than 300 kg animal…was used as food for domestic animals and other carnivores, as it would happen in nature.”
The post was promptly criticized with one upset viewer stating, “I do not consider the photo choice the happiest. Maybe some nice snapshot of the same giraffe happily walking around the zoo?”
“When we inform you about the death of a person, we will give a nice photo while he is alive [and] not how worms come out of his eyes, because it is also natural,” another comment said.
The Zoo Defends Itself on Feeding the Giraffe to the Lions
The zoo responded to complaints by reassuring the public that “the giraffe was already …nineteen years old” and therefore already geriatric with compromised health in other words.
The zoo also added that there are currently “two young giraffes, one male and one female, [so] breeding will certainly continue and expand.”
With a gestation period of fourteen to sixteen months and the ability to mate at any time of the year, Rothschild’s giraffes normally give birth to a single offspring. The males and females and their offspring live apart in small herds only coming together to mate.
The Rothschild giraffe is considered to be endangered as of 2018. Rothschild giraffes can still be observed in the wild in a very limited number of areas.
In Uganda and Kenya, open forests, grasslands, and savannahs are home to small populations of Rothschild giraffes. However, they may already be extinct in the area spanning South Sudan to the northern Democratic Republic of the Congo.