I'm sorry, but I beg to differ with your opinion. Giraffes (or any other animal found in a zoo for the same matter) are not pets. They are wild animals, and must be treated as such. The zoo caretakers are, finally, the ones who know better. It is a genuine excuse for them to put down an animal which is useless to the reproduction programme. Inbreeding is something which is avoided because the offspring produced as a consequence are usually more prone to diseases and general maladies. The prevention of such is, as a consequence, better for the species in the long term. Space is an important thing to have in consideration as well. A zoo isn't a savannah and its space is limited to a certain number of individuals, and if one will not contribute to a carefully planned continent-wide programme of reproduction, then its disposal is understandable.
The amount of euphemisms used in this article is incredible. It is incredibly biased. I understand it is portraying one specific point of view regarding the issue, but there is a difference between merely presenting one's opinion and excluding vital information in order to get your point across. Marius was euthanized. He was sedated before being shot (following the laws of Denmark, which prohibit the slaughter of animals if they haven't been sedated first: http://time.com/10652/denmark-animals-jews-muslims-halal/), and he wasn't ¨butchered¨, a necropsy was performed for research purposes and the public was given the opportunity to observe for the sake of scientific learning (www.time.com/7380/why-marius-the-giraffe-had-to-become-lion-chow/). Marius was, indeed, fed to lions in the same zoo afterwards. In my opinion this was the best way of disposing of the animal's corpse. Looking at this in a practical sense the carcass wasn't wasted. This is also part of a practice called carcass-feeding (www.time.com/7380/why-marius-the-giraffe-had-to-become-lion-chow/), which has been taking place for YEARS.
Many animals are euthanized in similar ways each day in different zoos (as may be read in the final paragraph of this other National Geographic article http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/02/140210-giraffe-copenhagen-science/). Arduous discussion over this specific case is really hypocritical in a sense, if all these other similar cases are neglected by the media as well as the public in general.
European zoos believe in providing animals with the most natural environment possible (www.time.com/7380/why-marius-the-giraffe-had-to-become-lion-chow/), and its philosophy leads them to allow their animals to reproduce freely. Contraception is not used, as it is considered to reduce life quality for the animals. In this sense Marius' death may be taken as an intent of giving him a life (even if short) of quality rather than a long one in which methods in which the Copenhagen Zoo, as a whole, does not believe in.
It is understandable that there might be an issue of popularity involved, as the article points out. If animals are euthanized in order to make place for baby animals towards which the public will be ´drawn to´ in order to increase its produce, this is understandable as well. A really valid point, to be honest. A zoo needs income if it wishes to sustain itself. Even if the zoo does have a priority for ´helping animals´ it needs profit as well, to achieve its aim in a practical way. If a zoo has no funds then it will be unable to sustain the individuals it seeks to help, or help in the further reproduction of the species.
Furthermore, Marius was offered a place in two other zoos, however both of these proved themselves unfit for the task, so the euthanasia went as planned from a beginning (www.time.com/6097/marius-giraffe-copenhagen-zoo). One zoo in the UK already had an ¨ample supply of Marius' genetic line¨ (this means that if Marius had been sent here, he might as well not have been culled in the first place), and the other zoo, in Sweden, ¨offered no guarantee that Marius would not later be sold elsewhere¨.
All in all the zoo's scientific and administrative team should be believed when they say this was the best course of action. It is clear they are doing this out of necessity rather than pleasure. This was done in the knowledge of the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), and they approved of the proceedings (as may be appreciated in the many articles provided above).
I believe, in my own personal right, that this is a topic better left to the experts, who know best. Yes, one may feel sorry for an animal who was put down before his time was up. However, the raving surrounding this subject, the fuss around it, seems to me rather pointless, because these type of euthanasia ensure the health of the future generations of the species. It will prove better for reticulated giraffes in the long term.I intend no offense whatsoever with this comment. I merely wish to present another side of this argument.