Marius Isn’t the Only One: 6 Other Animals Who Recently Died Needlessly in Captivity

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Marius, an 18-month-old giraffe killed by a zoo in Denmark, isn’t the only animal who recently died for no reason in captivity. These are just a few examples of the other animals who have also lost their lives:

January 2014: Louisa the lioness and her four cubs

Lioness and cubs were put down at Longleat Safari Park

Longleat Safari Park” by alljengi | CC BY-SA 2.0

Whistleblowers revealed that Longleat Safari and Adventure Park in Wiltshire killed the family of lions with a tranquiliser gun, citing inbreeding as the reason why it was done. Of course, it was the zoo that allowed the lions to breed in the first place.

February 2014: Anton the polar bear

Wilhelma Polar Bear CC

Eisbär / Polar bear” by Christian Heindel | CC BY-SA 2.0

Anton began vomiting up pieces of fabric after having eaten a jacket or bag dropped into his enclosure by a visitor at Wilhelma Zoo in Stuttgart, Germany. He died of severe intestinal injuries – an unpleasant and painful death. An elephant seal and a hippo had previously died at the zoo in a similar way.

January 2014: Michael the lion

Surabaya CC

Cage” by Nicko Witjatmoko | CC BY 2.0

Eighteen-month-old Michael was found hanging from the roof of his cage at Surabaya Zoo in Indonesia. He was just the latest victim of what has been labelled the “worst zoo in the world”, where more than 50  animals died as a result of horrific neglect in just three months.

June 2013: Vicky the orca

Loro Parque Orca CC

Orca” by MarinoCarlos | CC BY 2.0

At 10 months old, Vicky was just an infant when she died at the Loro Parque amusement park in Tenerife. Vicky’s premature death was hardly surprising, given that, like most SeaWorld orcas, she was grossly inbred (her father was also her uncle) and she had been rejected by her mother, Kohana – behaviour virtually unseen in wild orcas.

June 2013: Unnamed baboon

Knowlsey Babboon CC

Baboon…” by Jon Connell | CC BY 2.0

A male baboon at Knowsley Safari Park in Merseyside was trying to protect his mate when he was forced out of his enclosure by a group of 20 other males and climbed over the perimeter fence to get away. He was then promptly shot by the park’s gamekeeper. The park also made headlines in 2011 for allegedly killing animals and leaving their bodies in the open to rot.

October 2010: Sammi and Becca the Red River hog piglets

Red River Hogs CC

Red River Hogs” by Nigel Swales | CC BY-SA 2.0

Edinburgh Zoo celebrated the birth of these piglets in a publicity stunt to bring in more visitors before deciding to kill the healthy animals just a year later.


These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. We never even hear about many of the nameless animals routinely killed by zoos, especially when the animals are members of species that are less “high-profile”, such as antelope and wild boars, because the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, unsurprisingly, does not make these figures public – although it has suggested that it is as many as 5,000 healthy animals a year.

Many other animals die prematurely as a result of living in unnatural conditions or become depressed or insane as a result of captivity. All animals in zoos are denied everything that’s natural and important to them, and every aspect of their lives is manipulated and controlled. They are told when they will eat, what they will eat, when they can sleep, whom they can mate with, when they can go outside, etc. And zoos often preclude natural behaviour such as swimming.

Please help animals by staying away from zoos. Endangered species can’t be protected by keeping animals in prisons. Instead, give your money to genuine habitat conservation programmes, which work to keep wild animals where they belong – in the wild.


  • jan pedley commented on February 14, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Knowsley Safari Park is awful!the animals are in a shocking condition, overgrown hooves and claws, matted manes and general lack of care. Its a scruffy place and there seems to be alot more spent on the amusement area that the reserve. HATE IT!!

  • jan pedley commented on February 14, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    Re the SURABAYA ZOO situation there are animals dying daily. its is heartbreaking a Komodo dragon has just died, a rare turtle who had plastic trapped in his mouth so he couldn’t breath, a small pregnant deer plus worse of all Chandrika their RARE tiger who has died under such terrible conditions she had weeping sores that were infected. she had licked them thus infecting her tongue when the pain got so bad she bit it off! Can you imagine her pain. Still the Mayor refuses the help offered and lets this suffering go on daily… I cry at her inhumanity to the suffering of these poor creatures held in this living hell called a zoo

  • Lotta Nygård Mattsson commented on February 15, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    Do not visit Safari parks and zoos

    • CHRISTINE commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:29 pm

      i totally agree it is heartbreaking when we hear of animals being killed but the conditions are also appauling this can,t go on the Surabaya Zoo should be closed asap and the animals all given to other sanctuaries.and cared for properly it is inhumane.

  • kim jackson commented on February 17, 2014 at 10:48 am

    Always report any concerns that you have ..if visiting any place where animals are seen ..x

  • Irina Salauyeva commented on February 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Please,let them be FREE in their OWN ENVIRONMENT!!!!!Stop ZOO,stop any captivity!!!PLEASE!!!!!!Nature will not forgive us,to much crime we are spreading around…

    • Wowzers commented on February 18, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      How does PETA feel when wild animals die needlessly in the wild?

  • Kalliopi Mangou commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 am


    • TONY WEBBER commented on February 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

      Totally agree. Only humans need to be in cages

  • Marilyn O'Loughlin commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Killing animals inside zoos is not a great advert… I shan’t be visiting zoos anymore. It’s a shame because no doubt you’ll need to kill more animals because of lack of entry fees! Grrr.

  • MRS SANDRA LETSCHE commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:31 am

    This must all stop NOW.

  • Paula Castro commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:34 am


    I am completely against zoo, circus, sea world….
    Animals should live in their natural environment. The one Mother Nature created for them.

    We are not a superior species….at all.
    In fact seems to be the opposite.
    Our behavior is VERY primitive.

    People are getting surprise why weather is changing all over the globe.
    D’ont be. Mother Nature is VERY hungry with man’s behave.

    It is Time to share our globe….

  • Sophia commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:36 am

    So awful, we all are led to believe that zoos and safari parks are there to preserve and help the existence of wildlife, but instead they cause pain and suffering!!!

  • pippa commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:42 am

    please show us petitions and actions we can take and share to close zoos down and keep animals in the wild and protect them in their natural habitat.Thank u for all you do !!

  • Soraya Aslam commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Zoos and ‘safari’ parks have absolutely no place in our society. I reluctantly took our now 7 year old son to London zoo when he was a toddler. Never, ever again. My other two children have never been to a zoo and I certainly will never take them to one. I’d love to take my kids to a protected zone in Southern Africa. Perhaps PETA you could put a list of which conservation parks are good to go to, if at all?

    • Soraya Aslam commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:48 am

      I should add at London zoo, the lion looked underweight and depressed, a wild hog lived amongst rubbish, the giraffes had tiled flooring in their very small enclosures, the monkeys lived in a jail and the gorillas’ space was full of straw and mice. It was hideous. Shame on you, London Zoo (and any other zoo for that matter)!

  • ANGELA CAMERON commented on February 17, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    Animals and children it seems are used and abused every day,and why?? Because they are vulnerable and the monsters think they have the right to do what they want to them.It makes me sick to the heart of me

  • Brian Leese commented on February 17, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I assume that none of those making negative comments would ever entertain keeping fish,gerbils,rats,mice,hamsters,rabbits or birds etc. captive in their homes or gardens.Of course if you do you have no right to criticise others except where cruelty and neglect is concerned.

    • Joanne commented on February 17, 2014 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Brian,

      I have a cat, but she adopted me after years of neglect be her owner. I took her to the vets to get the plastic cable tie removed from her neck.

      It took 6 months of tireless work with her before she would sleep without having nightmares.

      She has a great life now and if she ever wanted to leave she could. I do not imprison her. She came to me, if she wanted I am sure she would leave and go to someone else if she didn’t like her home.

      My house is not a prison for her. She actually rules the house. Myself and partner do her bidding, she has us well trained.

    • CHRISTINE commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      We do have a cat but would never ever ill treat her we love her as one of the family and she comes first always.

    • Lynne Boreham commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      I think Joanne got it wrong Brian didn’t mention cats or dogs. He said small animals that usually are in cages.

  • Frances johns commented on February 17, 2014 at 12:14 pm

    It shouldn’t be allowed ,they should be prosecuted

  • David Henderson commented on February 17, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    zoos should be regulated so people that own them can afford to run and have the right
    environment , unfortunately sadly most haven’t so we shut them down just where do all the animals go most likely put down . Zoos and sea world should be band full stop.

  • mark commented on February 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    How can you be against zoo’s the conservation work done in these places is invaluable. Are you really suggesting that we should let all animals which are threatened in the wild die. Just because of some do-gooders opinion based on a few zoo failings. Please people stop your ‘moral superiority’ and see the bigger picture.

  • Lynne King commented on February 17, 2014 at 1:08 pm

    Why is this allowed to carry on? all zoo’s and safari parks should be closed, the best way to see an animal is in it’s natural habitat, if you’re not brave enough/can’t afford to do that, see them on tv in nature programmes, not in this cruel, despicable way!

  • Adrienn commented on February 17, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Does anyone know why they kill off animals due to inbreeding? Why dont they just spay them????

  • melanie knight commented on February 17, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I feel sick. So disturbing! 🙁

  • Denise commented on February 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Animals were not put in this world to suffer for our personal entertainment. Stop the poaching, stop the cruel killings of dolphins, whales, bulls, all others. Ban circuses and zoos and water parks. Let the animals live in peace in their world as Mother Nature intended.

  • Jacqueline Navarro commented on February 17, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Please stop all Zoo’s think of the animals it is to cruel and should not be tolerated.

  • Karen Haddon commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    all zoos and animal parks need shutting down as all the animals are suffering and no good because they can not live in captivity they all belong in the wild i will never vist azoo or park because animas are suffering and would not want to see them like that

  • Simon Howard commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    Just a suggestion, But if we have knowledge of which zoos are particularly bad, why not find their site on the internet, ( they usually have a means to leave feed back ) all we need do is register our non acceptance and disgust of the things we see and witness and if enough bad publicity is generated they will have to do something about it… Sadly by just boycotting visiting such awful places will not stop needless killing of otherwise healthy animals, in fact it will lead to more unnecessary deaths of animals as so many zoos already have animals that would otherwise be quite happy in their own ‘ wild ‘ habitat…
    As much as I personally disapprove of such establishments the only one i have visited was Jersey zoo in the channel islands. This was started by Gerald Durrell ( a renowned naturalist ) with the specific intent of a captive breeding program to keep animal stocks ( and in particular endangered species ) from becoming extinct… the other thing to do is join organisations like The Aspinall Foundation that preserves wild habitat so the can live in as natural conditions as possible…
    Best of luck with the campaign…

  • Lynne Boreham commented on February 17, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    All these bleating hearts make me laugh. What about sharks 73 million of them die every year and hardly a peep from anyone. Shark fining is abominable but no one cares. The sharks die a horrible death after their fins are sliced off while they are still alive. Is it because they are not cute and cuddly like lion cubs and dolphins.

    • Christine commented on February 17, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      Lynne you are wrong. Have you not seen all the thousands of people on the beaches in Australia protesting against shark fining/ culling??? Not to mention all the protesters and petitions on the internet. Shark fining etc is barbaric and totally unacceptable. I believe – along with thousands of others, that ALL wildlife including sharks should be protected.

  • sheila williams commented on February 17, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    These zoos ought to be made accountable for all of these crimes of mismanagement.

  • sheila williams commented on February 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    All zoos should be made accountable for the crimes of mismanagement which cause such suffering to these animals.

  • Paula Veitch commented on February 17, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Utterly disgusted. Animals are family too not trophies to show off then get rid when things are not right.

  • Glynis Mitchinson commented on February 17, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I cant believe what im reading its so distressing we must stop this unacceptable treatment of poor animals that are supposed to be nurtured and looked after I will never visit another zoo they should be closed down its heartbreaking

  • Rachel commented on February 17, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    I like how peta is condemning the work that zoos and safari parks do, failing to include that without these establishments many species would currently be extinct, including several species of parrot, hawk, Siberian tigers, Tasmanian devils etc.
    Without these places very few people would have any idea about the troubles many species are experiencing due to climate change and habitat fragmentation.
    I’m not saying they’re perfect, and yes there are mistakes which are made, but ultimately zoos and safari parks are there to preserve the species and they are open to the public to get money to support the conservation of those still existing in the wild, or/and to support/publicise breeding and reintroduction programmes.

    My issue with this article is it’s suggesting that putting animals to sleep is wrong, but that is what peta do to the animals they ‘rescue’ in their shelters. Personally I feel this entire article is hipocritical and before people share and repeat things from peta they should look carefully at the company’s ethics and protocols.

  • Simon Phillips. commented on February 18, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Address. Macclesfield, Cheshire. Please post me for ALL petitions ?

  • Andrea Raynor commented on February 18, 2014 at 5:31 am

    So sad I can only read a quarter of this article!!!

    I will never visit a zoo again all take my children there, as this kind of treatment to innocent animals is so an necessary.

    Will share this link and spread the word and encourage others to Boycott zoos and Safari parks as well!

  • sophie commented on February 23, 2014 at 4:07 am

    The giraffe didn’t die for no reason it was fed to the lions which is what would have happened in the wild

  • Harvey Seen commented on February 26, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    I love PETA

  • Cat commented on November 5, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    What is being done to shut this zoo down????
    I have seen you have been aware of the animals distressing and cruel conditions and yet the zoo is still housing animals and I do not see you actively involved in saving the animals housed their…
    Please update me on any activity to close Surabaya zoo and I will family donate finance and time to support.

  • news arema twitter commented on November 7, 2015 at 10:04 am

    No. However concentrate on how you utilize it, since it’s an item monitored
    excessive on the record. That’s most likely not unhealthy

  • wet eye disease in cats commented on November 9, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    The dog with SARDS has a troublesome time adjusting to blindness because it occurs quickly, in contrast to the dog with cataracts which usually develop more slowly, permitting time to adapt to failing eyesight.

  • Michael commented on January 8, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    Worst zoo ever

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