Marius II – Will another Danish Giraffe die?

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After the public outcry over the death of Marius the giraffe in Copenhagen Zoo, you’d think the Danes would shy away from any other killings.  Not a bit of it.  I’ve been on the phone to the curator and zoologist at another Danish zoo, this time in Jutland.

Jyllands Park Zoo has two male giraffes, one of whom is unfortunately called Marius – unfortunate because he too is now under threat.  If the zoo gets a female, and decides to start breeding giraffes, Marius has to go.  The zoo says it will try to re-home him but if that doesn’t work then he too will be killed, just like his namesake.

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The curator, Jesper Moehring-Jensen told me they euthanized a giraffe just last year because it had a leg injury (arthritis I think).

“We don’t have a problem euthanizing animals if there’s no other solution,” he told me.

And if you’re wondering whether he would allow children to watch Marius II being dissected and fed to the lions, then yes he would.  It’s all about ‘education’ he explains.

To me it’s a perfect illustration of just how different, culturally, Denmark is to the UK.  I still maintain that the damage done to Denmark’s PR after last Sunday is huge.  But as Jyllands Park Zoo shows, the Danes don’t care what anyone else thinks.

So if your name’s Marius and you’re a giraffe in Denmark then my advice is get out as quickly as you can…


  1. Hej Alex

    Wonderful Copenhagen yesterday posted a story on the issue, stating that they did not feel tourism would be affected. They concluded the story stating that the Copenhagen Card being reissued on 1 April would still feature a picture of a giraffe.

    I thought this might be an early April fool, and suggested on Twitter that they may like to rethink.

    Here’s their response:

    “Hi, the CPH Card is released on April 1 as always. The giraffe was on the card last year as well :-)”

    The article is only in Danish, at

  2. Good try Alex, but the Marius incident has done a lot of damage to the Danish image of quaintness. When they start talking about boycotting Danish bacon and joking about Lego giraffes and it being joked about on Top Gear, they would do well to force Bengt Holst out of his job, just to patch up some of the damage. But most people, especially kids, will see Copenhagen as the place where they butcher giraffes for public entertainment. Jeremy Clarkson has unfortunately euthanised the Danes first attempt at a car, by saying it should be called a Giraffe and taken away and shot. With an audience of 2 million viewers and repeats that go on for ever in 60 countries this story will go on for years.

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