Euthanasia of surplus Zoo animals at Boras Zoo, Sweden
12th January 2018
Boras Zoo is a full member of EAZA and WAZA. Founded in 1962, it is situated in the southwest of Sweden. Our Zoo participates in 21 EEP-programs and we are well known for our breeding success in African elephants, Borneo orangutans, Southern Cheetahs among others. Boras Zoo houses approximately 400 individuals from around 65 different species. For strong conservational and educational reasons, we are also keeping other species in the Zoo which do not form part of an EEP program, such as the African lion.
Based in scientific practice, we use translocation, contraception and the euthanasia of surplus animals as population management tools. In accordance with animal welfare, our animals should be able to express all natural behaviors possible, including breeding and the caring of offspring. Euthanasia is our last choice, when all other potential solutions are proven impossible. We follow EAZA’s Code of Ethics and the Culling Statement, which are also reflected in the WAZA policy for the same issue. The euthanasia takes place at a biologically relevant junction, such as weaning, leaving the family unit or any other social group. We are very transparent about this concept, both in our communication with our visiting guests and students, as well as in our communication with the media.
in Boras Zoo, we have euthanized 9 young surplus lions since 2013, for population management reasons. These lions were not cubs, but subadults around 1,5 -2 years old which had to leave their family unit because of group aggressions and other welfare reasons. It is well known, that African lions are well represented in EAZA institutions, and these animals were unfortunately not possible to relocate within the community. There is currently no plan to reintroduce African lions from EAZA zoos into the wild.
Our nutritional programs are species and individually adapted, and around 30 euthanized healthy surplus zoo animals form a relevant part of this every year. Ungulates, small birds and rabbits form an important part of our carnivores’ diet allowing the feeding of whole prey and its gastro-intestinal and enrichment benefits. We strive to contribute to research where biological samples, including euthanized surplus animals, is giving valuable knowledge through internationally reputed institutions. We have collaboration with the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Linkoping among others. Biological material from our surplus lions was sampled for the Leibnitz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the EAZA Biobank.
Apart from domestic breeds for our Children’s Zoo, we do not sell or buy animals. Animals are either donated or sent out on a breeding loan to other zoos, where the destination must be a member of EAZA with the same level of standard as our institution.
We in Boras Zoo fully respect the diverse opinions on this matter, and its controversy. But our management is based on the highest standard of animal welfare while taking all available knowledge about animal behavior and population dynamics into consideration.
We encourage our fellow members in the EAZA and WAZA to contact us in case of any questions.
Bo Kjellson, CEO