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Columbus Zoo Willing to Pay $100k to Save Giraffe Slated to Die

COLUMBUS (Lisa Rantala/Kate Liebers/Ken Hines) -- Columbus Zoo and Aquarium officials say they're willing to pay up to $100,000 to move an unwanted giraffe out of a Denmark zoo before it is slaughtered.

Columbus Zoo administrators hope to arrange for the 7-year-old giraffe to be transferred from its current home at the Jyllands Park Zoo to one of many facilities where the practice of killing healthy display animals is prohibited.

The offer came days after a 2-year-old giraffe at Copenhagen Zoo was shot in the head to avoid inbreeding, then skinned and fed to the lions while visitors watched. Days later, Jyllands Park officials said they may also have to get rid of a male giraffe for the same reason.

"We're totally against what happened at Copenhagen," said Tom Stalf, president of Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. "(It is) absolutely tragic, and in no way how any zoo in the U.S. would manage their animals."

The Columbus Zoo is offering up to $100,000 from its critical care fund to pay for the Denmark animal's transport. The fund was started after the infamous exotic animal escape at the Thompson farm in Zanesville.

Columbus Zoo officials are prepared to bring the giraffe to central Ohio, but would prefer to find a home for the animal at another European Zoo.

Stalf has called upon zoo operators world-wide to come up with a non-lethal plan for unwanted animals.

"There are people in place, and organizations in place, that are willing to help and demand that this action stop," he said.

Stalf believes a critical step in halting the practice is to develop a viable alternative plan -- such as preventing breeding animals from sharing living spaces -- as quickly as possible.

The Columbus Zoo did not immediately receive a response from the Jyllands Park Zoo regarding the fate of the giraffe.
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