Adult male lions often kill cubs fathered by other males

A zoo in Denmark that provoked outrage after putting down a healthy giraffe has killed a family of four lions to make way for a new young male lion.

Copenhagen Zoo says it “had to euthanise” two cubs and their parents after it failed to re-home them.

The 16-year-old male and 14-year-old female were nearing the end of their natural lives in captivity, it added.

Last month, the zoo killed a healthy giraffe because it was deemed surplus to requirements.

“Because of the pride of lions’ natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves,” the zoo said in a statement.

According to zookeepers, the male cub “would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance.”

The zoo said it had asked other parks to take the 10-month-old cubs, but had received no offers.

The new male lion is due to arrive in the next few days and will be introduced to the zoo’s two female lions who, born in 2012, have reached breeding age.

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