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On Sunday 9th February the Zoo will euthanize one of its young male giraffes. The euthanasia is happening in agreement with the European Breeding Programme for giraffe. It is not possible to transfer the giraffe to another zoo as it will cause inbreeding. 

The imminent euthanasia has given rise to a number of questions which Zoo.dk has forwarded to the Zoo’s Scientific Director Bengt Holst. 

“Why does Copenhagen Zoo euthanize a healthy giraffe? “

”Copenhagen Zoo’s giraffes are part of an international breeding programme which aims at ensuring a healthy giraffe population in European zoos. This is done by constantly ensure that only unrelated giraffes breed so that inbreeding is avoided. If an animal’s genes are well represented in a population further breeding with that particular animal is unwanted. As this giraffe’s genes are well represented in the breeding programme and as there is no place for the giraffe in the Zoo’s giraffe herd the European Breeding Programme for Giraffes has agreed that Copenhagen Zoo euthanize the giraffe. This is a situation that we know from other group animals that breed well. When breeding success increases it is sometimes necessary to euthanize.

We see this as a positive sign and as insurance that we in the future will have a healthy giraffe population in European zoos. The same type of management is used in deer parks where red deer and fallow deer are culled to keep the populations healthy. The most important factor must be that the animals are healthy physically and behaviourally and that they have a good life whilst they are living whether this life is long or short. This is something that Copenhagen Zoo believes strongly in. 

”Why are the giraffes not given contraceptives?”

“In Copenhagen Zoo we let the animals breed naturally. With naturally we mean that they will get young within the same intervals as they would in the wild. That means that the animals get to carry out their natural behaviours. Parental care is a big part of an animal’s behaviour. It is a 24 hour job in longer periods of their lives and we believe that they should still be able to carry out this type of behaviour also in captivity. Contraceptives have a number of unwanted side effects on the internal organs and we would therefore apply a poorer animal welfare if we did not euthanize.”

“Why not transfer the giraffe to a zoo which is not part of the breeding programme or to a zoo that is interested in getting a giraffe?” 

“Only zoos that follow certain rules can be part of international breeding programmes. In Europe this is only the zoos that are members of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). EAZA is an association that counts just over 300 members.

As a member of EAZA you agree to the following rules of not selling animals, working on a scientific basis and ensuring animal welfare. The international breeding programmes are fully controlled and open and are collaborations between institutions that follow from the same set of rules. This is important for the breeding programmes to work.”

Opening hours
The Zoo is open 365 days a year from 10 am. 

Children (age 3-11)
2013 DKK 95

2013 DKK 160

Free access for children under the age of 3

Annual passes
Children (age 3-11) DKK 275
Adults DKK 440
Pensioners DKK 335

Opening hours 2013
  Weekdays Weekends and public holidays
January, February 10 am - 4 pm 10 am - 4 pm
March 10 am - 4 pm 10 am - 5 pm
April, May 10am - 5 pm
10 am - 6 pm
1 – 29 June 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm
30 June – 12 August 10 am - 8 pm 10 am - 8 pm
13 – 31 August 10 am - 6 pm 10 am - 6 pm
September 10 am - 5 pm 10 am - 6 pm
October 10 am - 5 pm 10 am - 5 pm
November, December 10 am - 4 pm 10 am - 4 pm

*** 24 and 31 December 10 am - 2 pm

The ticket office closes 30 minutes before the Zoo closes. During the period 30 June - 12 August the ticket office closes at 7 pm.