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Controversial Copenhagen Zoo Official: Zoos Are Selling Disney “Fairy Tales”

Controversial Copenhagen Zoo Official: Zoos Are Selling Disney

‘The zoo official who euthanized a giraffe and four lions earlier this year may be stoking more controversy.

Many zoos, especially in the United States, are perpetuating a fairy-tale world that masks the realities of nature from visitors, he said this week in Copenhagen.”We should not tell the Disney story that animals are only cute and only get born and never die,” said Bengt Holst, the Copenhagen Zoos science director, at the 2014 Euroscience Open Forum. “We have to tell the real story: Death is a natural consequence of life. If [we] dont tell that story, [were doing] a bad job, because then we dont work for conservation—we work for an imaginary world.”

Zoos in Europe have been euthanizing, or culling, captive animals for about 30 years. The goal has been to create a healthy and genetically diverse population of different species, many of which are threatened by extinction. Animals are sometimes killed to make room for other animals or to avoid inbreeding.European zoos also breed more animals than they need, because its impossible to predict how many females will get pregnant and give birth to healthy offspring. Holst told National Geographic on Wednesday that the need to euthanize is actually a “positive sign,” since it means that zoos are breeding animals well enough to create a surplus.’  (National Geographic).