Zoo Has Decided to Dissect Lion in Public

Denmark's Odense Zoo says kids especially love this type of 'authentic' experience
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2015 8:25 AM CDT
Zoo Has Decided to Dissect Lion in Public
Not the lioness to be dissected.   (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Denmark's Odense Zoo decided it had one too many lions, so it put down one of the big cats and stored the remains in a freezer—and it plans to hold a live dissection of the animal on Thursday to "show how fantastic a lion is," RT.com reports. The dissection of the lion, which was killed nine months ago, is scheduled just in time for local kids' fall break, so children will likely also be in attendance, the AFP reports. "There will be explanations when the animal is cut up and the heart, lungs, and other body parts will be displayed," the zoo's website reads, per the Local. "If there is a wish to closely study body parts, that will be possible." The lion, a 9-month-old female, was "humanely" killed in February because she was exhibiting aggressive behavior and no other zoo wanted her, Nina Collatz, the zookeeper chief at Odense, tells the BBC. Getting rid of "surplus" animals like this "is a very normal process," she adds.

But are live zoo dissections normal? They have been at Odense for decades, Collatz tells the broadcaster, which notes the zoo has hosted similar anatomy lessons on a pony, tapir, camel, and other lions. Last year, the Copenhagen Zoo also attracted media attention (and death threats toward its staff) when it put down a healthy young giraffe and performed a live dissection, feeding the giraffe meat to the lions afterward. As for outrage that children will likely show up for next week's event, as they did in Copenhagen? Zoo staff insist it's the adults making a big deal about the event and that the kids love it. "A dissection reveals the lion's anatomy and what makes it a good predator," another Odense zookeeper tells the Copenhagen Post. "Children are so curious they practically crawl into the carcass. It's an authentic and scientific experience." (This zoo kills its surplus deer and feeds the meat to visitors.)

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