While animal cruelty across the globe remains a sore point, a Swedish zoo has admitted to killing 9 healthy lion cubs since 2012.
Of the 13 cubs born in 3 litters at the zoo, only 2 have survived, The Independent reports, adding that two of the cubs died due to natural causes, while the rest were put down.
According to the zoo, Boras Djurpark, some healthy animals are euthanised if they are rejected by their pride and the zoo is unable to re-home them.
Speaking to Swedish broadcaster SVT, Bo Kjellson, chief executive of the zoo says at that time the zoo had “tried to sell or relocate the cubs to other zoos for a long time but unfortunately there were no zoos that could receive them”.
“When the aggression became too big in the group, we had to remove some animals. And it had to be them,” he says.
Kjellson says that the termination was necessary to his organisation’s aim of conservation, as they wanted the healthiest population to be reproducing.
However, the animals killed were healthy and Kjellson says they were killed to balance the breeding programme.
The nine cubs that were killed were named Potter, Weasley, Simba, Rafiki, Nala, Sarabi, Kiara, Kovu and Banzai. Simba, Rafiki, Nala and Sarabi were all killed in 2013, just a year after being born. Cubs Kiara, Banzai and Kovu were put down in 2015.
Potter and Weasley were born into a litter of four in 2016. While Potter and Weasley were both killed in the cub cull, the zoo chose to re-home Granger and Dolores, sending them to an unnamed zoo in the UK, reports the UK Sun.
“It’s no secret in any way and we do not try to hide that we’re working this way. So it’s unfortunately a natural path for groups of lions,” he says.
Responding to the incident, the team behind the global documentary Blood Lions told Traveller24 that this seems to be a case of indiscriminate or even irresponsible breeding by the zoo.
“It seems like they hope they could make some money selling excess lions. It also calls into question the role zoos play in general,” says Blood Lions.