The bid to save Marius the giraffe from destruction at Copenhagen Zoo has failed, and the animal was put down on Sunday morning.
Thousands of people had signed an online petition appealing for a change of heart over 18-month-old Marius.
The zoo said it had no choice because of European rules to avoid in-breeding.
Marius was due to be killed by a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, which would contaminate the meat.
Two zoos, one in the UK and one in Sweden, had reportedly put in last-ditch offers to take Marius in.
Marius was due to be killed by a bolt gun, not a lethal injection, which would contaminate the meat
On Saturday Bengt Holst, scientific director at the Danish zoo, defended Marius’s destruction, saying his genes were already well represented among giraffes at the zoo.
He said he could not understand the fuss over Marius, pointing out that, for instance, 700-800 deer are killed every year at a deer park north of Copenhagen to control their numbers.
The zoo planned to dissect the animal after it was killed, before feeding it to the tigers and other carnivores.
“It would be absolutely foolish to throw away a few hundred kilos of meat,” Bengt Holst said according to the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.
“Some is used for research and the rest for food.”
Animal rights campaigners have described the move as barbaric and have accused the zoo of being unethical.
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World’s oldest public toilet, created at the dawn of the dinosaurs, has been unearthed in Argentina.
Thousands of fossilized poos left by rhino-like megaherbivores were found clustered together, scientists say.
The 240-million-year-old site is the “world’s oldest public toilet” and the first evidence that ancient reptiles shared collective dumping grounds.
The dung contains clues to prehistoric diet, disease and vegetation says a study in Scientific Reports.
Elephants, antelopes and horses are among modern animals who defecate in socially agreed hotspots – to mark territory and reduce the spread of parasites.
However, their best efforts are dwarfed by the enormous scale of this latrine – which breaks the previous record “oldest toilet” by 220 million years.
World’s oldest public toilet, created at the dawn of the dinosaurs, has been unearthed in Argentina
Fossil “coprolites” as wide as 40 cm and weighing several kilograms were found in seven massive patches across the Chanares Formation in La Rioja province.
Some were sausage-like, others pristine ovals, in colours ranging from whitish grey to dark brown-violet.
“There is no doubt who the culprit was,” said Dr. Lucas Fiorelli, of Crilar-Conicet, who discovered the dung heaps.
“Only one species could produce such big lumps – and we found their bones littered everywhere at the site.”
The perpetrator was Dinodontosaurus, an eight-foot-long megaherbivore similar to modern rhinos.
These animals were dicynodonts – large, mammal-like reptiles common in the Triassic period when the first dinosaurs began to emerge.
The fact they shared latrines suggests they were gregarious, herd animals, who had good reasons to poo strategically, said Dr. Lucas Fiorelli.
The predator in this case was the formidable Luperosuchus, a crocodile-like carnivore up to 8 m in length.
But the dung patches were equally intimidating.
A density of 94 poos per square metre was recorded by the researchers. And the excrement was spread across patches 900 square metres in size.
Prehistoric coprolites are nothing new, but it is extremely rare to find an accumulation as old and substantial as this one – because faeces degrade so easily.
A sheet of volcanic ash has preserved the ancient dung piles “like Pompeii”, said Dr. Lucas Fiorelli.
The coprolites are like time capsules.
“When cracked open they reveal fragments of extinct plants, fungi, and gut parasites,” said Martin Hechenleitner, a fellow author on the study.
US researchers have found that black bears have a surprising capacity to heal while hibernating.
Medical researchers and zoologists worked together to find that the bears’ wounds healed with almost no scarring, and were infection-free.
The scientists hope, eventually, to find out exactly how the bears’ bodies heal while their body temperature, heart rate and metabolism are reduced.
This could aid studies of human wound-healing.
The findings, published in the journal Integrative Zoology, are of particular relevance to medical researchers hoping to improve slow-healing and infection-prone wounds in elderly, malnourished or diabetic patients.
This study was part of a project by scientists from the universities of Minnesota, Wyoming and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, who have tracked 1,000 black bears, in order to monitor their health and behavior, for 25 years.
Whilst tracking the bears – using radio collars – the researchers noticed some early evidence of their surprising healing abilities.
Researchers wrote in their paper: “We identified a few animals each year with injuries resulting from gunshots or arrows from hunters; bite marks from other bears or predators.
“These wounds were considered to have been incurred some time before the bears denned, and were often infected or inflamed… in early winter.
“Yet typically, when we revisited bears in their dens a few months later, most wounds had completely resolved whether or not we [cleaned them], sutured the areas or administered antibiotics.”
To test the bear’s healing abilities experimentally, the team carefully tracked the healing of small cuts on the skin of 14 of their radio-collared bears in northern Minnesota.
Researchers have found that black bears have a surprising capacity to heal while hibernating
Between November (when the bears first settled down in their dens) and March (about a month before they emerged) the wounds healed with “minimal evidence of scarring”.
Added to this, there were no signs of infection, the layers of damaged skin regrew and many of the bears even grew hair from newly formed follicles at the site of their injuries.
Prof. David Garshelis from the University of Minnesota said: “It seems so surprising to us that their wounds would heal so well and so completely when they’re hibernating and their metabolism is slowed down.”
But, he added, the animals had many other “remarkable adaptations to hibernation”.
“They sit in the den for six months and don’t lose any appreciable muscle or bone mass, so I guess this healing is another adaptation,” Prof. David Garshelis said.
During its winter hibernation, a black bear’s core body temperature is reduced by as much as 7C (13F) and their heart rate lowers dramatically. In humans, a lowered body temperature, or conditions that hamper circulation can seriously complicate wound-healing.
For this reason, the team hopes to find out the mechanism behind the bears’ remarkable healing abilities.
Prof. David Garshelis: “We consider this to have implications for medical research.
“If we can work out how the bears heal, we hope there’ll be potential to translate this research to [studies of] human healing.”
This could be especially important for the development of treatments for slow-healing skin wounds in malnourished, hypothermic, diabetic and elderly patients.