A zoo in Sweden has admitted killing nine healthy lion cubs because they had become ‘surplus animals’.
Bo Kjellson said the cubs were killed because there were concerns that the ‘aggression became too big in the group’ and because they could not be sold or moved.
The zoo in question is the Boras Djurpark, in south-western Sweden, close to the city of Gothenburg. The killings all take place within the last six years.
Swedish media reported that the cubs’ names were Potter, Weasley, Simba, Rafiki, Nala, Sarabi, Kiara, Kovu and Banzai.
Kjellson told a Swedish broadcaster, SVT,: ‘I think that they were killed after two years.
‘At that time we had already tried to sell or to relocate them at other zoos for a long time but, unfortunately, there were no zoos that could receive them – and when the aggression became too big in the group we had to remove some animals. And it had to be them.
Simba, Rafiki, Nala and Sarabi were born in the spring of 2012 and all killed in autumn 2013, reported Espressen newspaper.
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Kiara, Banzai and Kovu were born in spring 2014 and were killed in the summer and autumn of 2015.
And in 2016, four lions named after Harry Potter characters – Weasley, Granger, Dolores and Potter – were born.
Potter and Weasley were killed but Granger and Dolores sent to an unnamed zoo in the UK.
Kjellson calls the culling a ‘natural path’ and said it was no secret in the way the zoo kept control.
He added: ‘Now the group works well, but some of them could become surplus animals, and then we will try to move them elsewhere.
‘It could be that we have to put them to death.’