A zoo in Sweden called Borås Djurpark has come under fire for their decision to euthanize healthy lion cubs because they didn’t have space for them.
Borås Djurpark first made headlines for killing “surplus” lion cubs back in 2013. In 2012, one of their lions gave birth to four healthy cubs: Simba, Nala, Sarabi, and Rafaki. Sadly, by fall 2013, all four cubs had been euthanized by the zoo.
In 2014, the same scenario happened again. One of the zoo’s female lions gave
birth to three cubs that were all in excellent health: Kiara, Banzai, and Kovu. A year later, all three cubs had been euthanized.
In August 2016, four more cubs were born at Borås Djurpark: Potter, Dolores, Granger, and Weasley.
Granger and Dolores were sent to a zoo in England, where they’re happily growing up into adult lions. But sadly, Potter and Weasley weren’t as lucky. The zoo euthanized these two cubs in January 2018.
Altogether, Borås Djurpark has euthanized nine healthy cubs, which has sparked outcry in the animal welfare community. In Defense of Animal’s communication director, Fleur Dawes, told The Dodo:
“We are sickened by the horrifying and unjustifiable murder of nine healthy lion cubs by Borås Zoo in Sweden. Zoos regularly breed baby animals to draw in crowds, then zoothanize [euthanize ‘surplus’ animals] them when they become less profitable. Zoothanasia is a rampant, cancerous practice that betrays intelligent, conscious individuals for money.”
A spokesperson for Borås Djurpark released a statement to The Dodo explaining that they followed the EAZA’s Code of Ethics when euthanizing the cubs. But the statement doesn’t explain why they bred the lion cubs in the first place:
“We follow EAZA’s Code of Ethics and the Culling Statement, which are also reflected in the WAZA policy for the same issue. The euthanasia takes place at a biologically relevant junction, such as weaning, leaving the family unit or any other social group. 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.”
This story is sadly all-too-common. There are many zoos throughout the world that euthanize animals when they stop being cute babies who can draw in visitors. Hopefully, Borås Djurpark will take the public outcry to heart and stop breeding lion cubs when they don’t have space for them.