Leipzig Zoo in Germany faces backlash following a controversial decision to kill a zebra stallion and feed him to the lions. The incident, which took place in front of visitors in March, has ignited a debate on zoo practices and animal welfare.
Jörg Junhold, director of Leipzig Zoo, stated that prior to killing the animal, the zoo had spent a year attempting to relocate the 15-year-old zebra named Franz. However, he said their efforts were unsuccessful due to insufficient space in other facilities.
“The final option in these cases – killing for feeding to predators – is established practice,” Junhold said. Arne Lawrenz, director of the Wuppertal Zoo, justified this type of killing, stating that it also happens when there is a risk of conflict within a herd.
In 2014, Copenhagen Zoo in Denmark faced criticism for slaughtering a young giraffe named Marius. Despite the outcry, some experts classified the zoo’s approach as courageous and correct.
Animal rights organization PETA criticizes the practice, arguing that it shows how little regard zoos have for their animals.
Famous lion keeper
The sudden transfer of a famous zookeeper has further stoked the controversy surrounding Leipzig Zoo. Lion keeper Jörg Gräser, a public favorite, became a household name in Germany due to his appearances on a TV docu-soap. Gräser quickly grew into a cult figure and icon for zoo enthusiasts.
However, a few weeks ago, the much-loved zookeeper vanished unexpectedly from the public eye. The reason for Gräser’s transfer remains undisclosed, leading to speculation and concern among his numerous fans and the general public.
This added layer of controversy adds to the ongoing debate on animal welfare practices in Leipzig Zoo, further questioning its handling of both animal and personnel matters. The zoo, already under scrutiny for its decision to kill zebra Franz and feed him to lions, now faces additional public pressure to provide transparency in its operations.