If you don’t have any plans for the autumn holidays this year, you can always take the kids to see the dissection of a real lion at Odense Zoo.
On Thursday October 15 the lion – which was put down because the zoo had too many – will be removed from a freezer (where it has been kept since being euthanised nine months ago) and dissected for educational purposes.
“Of course we do everything we can to avoid putting down animals, and we tried shipping the lion off to other zoos,” Michael Wallberg Sørensen, a zoologist at Odense Zoo, told Ekstra Bladet tabloid.
“But it can be really difficult to make things run smoothly with animals in captivity and space is a limiting factor. And then we are forced to prioritise.”
Echoes of Marius
It won’t be the first time that Odense Zoo has dissected an animal in front of the public. It has dissected a lion before, as well as a tapir (an animal like a pig, but with a longer snout).
Sørensen said the dissections draw good crowds including some very interested children.
“A dissection reveals the lion’s anatomy and what makes it a good predator. Children are so curious they practically crawl into the carcass. It’s an authentic and scientific experience,” said Sørensen.
The practice of zoos putting down healthy animals reached new heights of criticism in early 2014 when Copenhagen Zoo put down the healthy giraffe Marius and fed it to the lions in the zoo.
Ironically, four of the lions that feasted on Marius were put down themselves a few weeks later.