Swedish zoo are killing healthy lions cubs
A zoo in Sweden is coming under scrutiny after it was revealed that they have killed as many as nine healthy lion cubs over the last six years.
According to reports, the Borås Djurpark zoo in western Sweden killed the cubs for no other reason other than that they were disturbing the dynamics of the lion pride and they could not be sold or shipped anywhere else.
Speaking with Swedish broadcaster SVT Bo Kjellson, chief executive of the zoo said: “At that time we had tried to sell or relocate them to other zoos for a long time but unfortunately there were no zoos that could receive them, and when the aggressions became too big in the group we had to remove some animals.”
Cubs are culled to balance the pride
Kjellson states that the aim of the zoo is to promote healthy living in the pride and that the euthanasia was necessary in order to balance the breeding program.
“It’s no secret in any way and we do not try to hide that were working this way. So it’s unfortunately a natural path for groups of lions,” he said. “To kill animals as part of the organization, I think that upsets quite a few.”
“We use translocation, contraception and the euthanasia of surplus animals as population management tools,” writes Kjellson. “In accordance with animal welfare, our animals should be able to express all natural behaviors possible, including breeding and the caring of offspring. Euthanasia is our last choice, when all other potential solutions are proven impossible. We follow EAZA’s [European Association of Zoos and Aquaria] Code of Ethics and the Culling Statement, which are also reflected in the WAZA [World Association of Zoos and Aquariums] policy for the same issue … We are very transparent about this concept, both in our communication with our visiting guests and students, as well as in our communication with the media.”
EAZA is onboard
Alarmingly, the EAZA released a statement of its own, defending the Swedish zoo for killing healthy lions.
The EAZA goes on to say that it “is satisfied that Borås Zoo has been acting within the EAZA Code of Ethics and according to the terms of the EAZA Culling Statement, the guiding documents for the regulation of euthanasia as a management practice. The animals in question were killed humanely at an appropriate age to avoid any compromise in welfare to them and to the parent animals.”
Just two of 13 cubs born into 5 litters have survived at the zoo over the last five years.
Borås Djurpark opened to the public back in 1965 and is home to more than 600 different animals from as many as 65 different species.
As for what will happen to cubs born at the zoo in the future, Kjellson is not exactly sure one way or another.
“That we will see in the future, he said. “Currently, the group works well, but some of them may become surplus animals, and then we will try to place them elsewhere.
“It could be so that we have to put them to death.”
Brad is a former Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. His writing has appeared in many of the Canada’s most respected and credible publications, including the Toronto Star, CBC News and on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. A meticulous researcher who’s not afraid to be controversial, he is nationally known as a journalist who opens people’s eyes to the realities behind accepted practices in the care of children. Brad is a contributing journalist to Advocator.ca