List of animals culled in zoos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Culling animals in zoos is the process of segregating animals from a group according to desired or undesired characteristics; the process often ends with the segregated animals being killed. Several reasons are given for culling in zoos, including a lack of space, the genes of the culled animals are over-represented in the zoo population, the (young) animal might be attacked or killed, or the culled animals have contracted a disease.

Because animals in zoos are killed for many reasons, such as old age or disease, just as pet animals are often euthanized because of health problems, it is beyond the scope of this list to identify every case where an animal is killed in a zoo. The list focuses on controversial, unusual or otherwise noteworthy cases where the incident was reported in national or international sources.


The following is a list of animals where their culling and euthanisation in zoos and wildlife (safari) parks has been covered by the general media.

Country Zoo Species

(Common name)


(Taxonomic name)

Year Number Reason given by zoo Source
Denmark Copenhagen Zoo Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis 2014 1


Prevent inbreeding [1]
Denmark Odense Zoo Lion Panthera leo 2014 2 [2]
Germany Magdeburg Zoo Siberian tiger Panthera tigris altaica 2010 3


Cubs were hybrids[3][better source needed] [2]
England Woburn Safari Park Rhesus macaque Macaca mulatta 2000 215 Infected with a virus [4]
Switzerland Bern Zoo Namibian lion Panthera leo 2007 2


Insufficient space [5]
England Paignton Zoo Peacock 2007 7 Complaints from neighbours about noise [6]
Denmark Copenhagen Zoo Leopard Panthera pardus 2012 2


Genes were over-represented [7]
Denmark Copenhagen Zoo Lion Panthera leo 2014 4

(including 2 cubs)

To make space for another male [8]
Australia Adelaide zoo Greater flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus 2014 1

Greater (flamingo)

Arthritis [9]
Canada Assiniboine Park Zoo Polar bear Ursus maritimus 2008 1

Debby (polar bear)

Multiple organ failure [10]
United States Central Park Zoo Polar bear Ursus maritimus 2013 1

Gus (polar bear)

Inoperable tumour [11]
Spain Barcelona Zoo Western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla 2003 1

Snowflake (gorilla)

Skin cancer [12]
Netherlands Dolfinarium Harderwijk Walrus Odobenus rosmarus 2013 1

Igor (walrus)

Shoulder-joint problems [13]
Germany Leipzig Zoo Virginia opossum Didelphis virginiana 2011 1

Heidi (opposum)

Age-related health problems [14]
United States Wild Adventures Theme Park Asian elephant Elephas maximus 2011 1

Queenie (waterskiing elephant)

Deteriorating health [15]
United States Oklahoma City Zoo Sea lion 2010 1

Midge the Sea Lion

Lung cancer [16]
New Zealand Auckland Zoo Asian elephant 2009 1

Kashin (elephant)

Arthritis and foot abscess [17]
Australia Southern Ash Wildlife Centre Koala 2009 1

Sam (koala)

Urogenital chlamydiosis [18]
United States Birmingham Zoo Western lowland gorilla Gorilla gorilla gorilla 2008 1


Heart disease [19]
United States Santa Barbara Zoo Rothschild's giraffe G. c. rothschild 2008 1

Gemina (giraffe)

Deteriorating health [20]
United States Dallas Zoo Western lowland gorilla 2008 1

Jenny (gorilla)

Inoperable tumour [21]

Summary quotes[edit]

  • "...five giraffes have been put down by zoos in Denmark since 2012."[22]
  • "Dr Lesley Dickie, executive director of EAZA, [said] that between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year across Europe. 'That’s our estimate for all animals management euthanised in the zoo, be it tadpoles up until a giraffe'. Among those killed were 22 healthy zebras, four hippos and two Arabian Oryx were also put down. The Oryx were killed at Edinburgh and London zoos in 2000 and 2001."[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McLaughlin, E.C & Wilkinson, P (2014). "Zoo official on Marius the giraffe: Conservation isn't always clean". CNN. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Barnes, H. (2014). "How many healthy animals do zoos put down?". BBC. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  3. ^ Lanesborough, A. "Amend EAZA euthanasia policies, ethically manage populations with contraception, cooperate with international organisations to relocate healthy animals to suitable environments". Change.Org. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  4. ^ "Park culls monkey colony". BBC. 2000. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Moore, M. (2007). "Swiss zoo culls endangered lion cubs". The Telegraph. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  6. ^ "Zoo culls peacocks in noise row". BBC. 2007. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  7. ^ Abend, L. (2014). "Marius the giraffe is not the only animal zoos have culled recently". Time. Retrieved March 29, 2015.
  8. ^ Anderson, L. (2014). "Tragic inevitability of latest zoo deaths". Archived from the original on March 17, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  9. ^ "World's oldest flamingo, Greater, dies at Adelaide Zoo". The Australian. 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  10. ^ "Tributes pour in after oldest polar bear dies in Winnipeg". 2008. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  11. ^ Leader, J. (2013). "Gus, Central Park Zoo's Polar bear, has died". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  12. ^ "Meet Snowflake the world's only known albino gorilla". November 29, 2003. Archived from the original on March 16, 2015. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  13. ^ "Walrus Igor is overleden" (in Dutch). De Stentor. 2013. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  14. ^ "Heidi the cross-eyed opossum dead at three". The Local. 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  15. ^ Batty, D. (2011). "Queenie, the waterskiing elephant, dies". The Guardian. Retrieved March 31, 2015.
  16. ^ Coppernoll, C. (2010). "Famous Oklahoma City Zoo sea lion dies". The Oklahoman Online. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  17. ^ Tapaleao, Vaimoana (25 August 2009). "Kashin's health issues become too much to bear". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  18. ^ "Sam the Koala dies". Herald Sun. News Limited. 6 August 2009. Retrieved April 1, 2015.
  19. ^ "Babec's Story | Birmingham Zoo". Retrieved 2018-09-08.
  20. ^ Chawkins, Steve (2008). "Gemina the giraffe dies at 21". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 2, 2015.
  21. ^ "Oldest gorilla in captivity dies in Dallas Zoo at 55". Toronto Star. 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2008-09-28.
  22. ^ a b "Marius the giraffe was not alone: zoos in Europe kill 5,000 healthy animals annually". The Huffington Post UK. 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2015.

External links[edit]

  • EAZA statement on euthanasisa. [1]