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Jungle Jack Hanna On the Waste of Marius the Giraffe: "Give Me a Friggin' Break!"

Updated on February 11, 2014
Giraffes in an African zoo.
Giraffes in an African zoo. | Source

Marius the Giraffe vs. Wild Carnivores

Jack Hanna took the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium from a mud hole and a dozen ailing animals to the Number One Zoo in the nation.

Hanna, as Director Emeritus, and the zoo directors under his view have maintained that zoos are for educating the public to love and save animals and for breeding for purposes of saving endangered species. Saving injured animals and those captured around human habitats in the state is also part of the larger mission.

Jack is so serious about his job and mission that he agreed to wear his Jungle Jack Hanna clothing at all times in public, even to attend church, as friends of mine have witnessed. They admire him and his work and so do I. I agree with many of his opinions.

Jungle Jack reiterated his and the zoo's position on the John Korby Show on 610 WTVN Radio on the afternoon of Monday, February 10, 2014. He and his family had been awake all night after he heard of the dispatch of Marius the Giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo.

Marius was not a wild carnivore loose in a human neighborhood and rabied or otherwise unmanageable. He was only a gentle 18-month-old. If there were "too many" of him, why did the Copenhagen Zoo not eliminate him at birth? Their staff speaks of natural parenting and animal life, but tricking the animal with food and killing it is not natural - or, perhaps it is for some humans.

Copenhagen Zoo did not participate in the circle of life. They turned it into a cyclotron.


The Larger Warning

Many voices have warned the world that any organization, even a government, that treats its animals and weaker members of human society badly is a danger to all members of that society.

How many times have we heard in America pleas for sterilizing or "sending back to the Old World" certain segments of the population? How many proposals have called for the destruction of Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy babies in utero? -- Some of my best friends have Cerebral Palsy.

The psychiatric hospitals around the nation have largely been shut down, with the result of 1,000s of unmarked graves being found on their grounds. Who were those unfortunates?

Senior Citizens who are not millionaires are mistreated in the USA every day, some fatally.

Who's next?


Marius Was Not a Danger - He Was "Surplus"

In October 2010, Hanna helped contain wild animals released in Eastern Ohio by a suicidal man who owned them. At that time, Jack stated that for the safety of people in the area and because the darkness of night in the rural countryside made it impossible to catch the animals, that they were largely eliminated by rifle fire.

A few of the animals were captured and held in quarantine. However, the Marius case was nothing like the Eastern Ohio tragedy.

On the radio, Hanna spoke of the language used in emails, Tweets and on Facebook to him and his zoo about the Marius case, stating that some was not repeatable on the air.

As most know by now, zoo staff lured the animal with food, shot it in the back of the head with a bolt gun, and dissected it in front of an audience. Parents had the right to take their children away from the scene, but many did not and that is their free choice. I do hope that people watching found educational value -- Even chef, writer, and TV personality Anthony Bourdain does not want to watch an animal killed and butchered and then eat it. I have seen the action in American slaughterhouses and injuries to slaughterhouse employees as well. These things are horrendous and American slaughterhouses could be improved.

In another aspect, an uncle took my Easter chick one year, raised it, and then informed me that it had been mine after he fed it to me and laughed. I never trusted him. Rightly so, because he was abusive, having been abused by his own father, who had been abused by his family and farm hands - but, even though Marius was a food animal in Africa, he was used as a publicity display in his dissection and feeding to lions. See how much publicity the Copenhagen Zoo received!

Jack Hanna's final take on the subject was asking the question of whether the Copenhagen Zoo abused Marius in order to make a name for themselves and garner publicity. He felt that they certainly did accomplish this goal. So much so, in fact, that Jack and the Columbus Zoo would want nothing to do with that zoo or any other zoo that is a member of the European Zoo Association. He seemed to feel that perhaps cultural differences were an excuse for the publicity and for denying harm to the American public and all others who protested.

At one point in discussing inbreeding and regulations against selling or giving Marius away with John Korby, Jack's comment was finally, "Give me a friggin' break!" I feel that same anger and unbelief.


Sometimes, Laws Need To Be Ignored

In the Terry Schiavo case, I hoped President George W. Bush would send in the active Armed Forces or the National Guard and air lift Terry from the hospice where her husband - already living with another woman and fathering her children - wanted her to die. In fact, he listed a date years earlier as her date of death on her tombstone. Her parents made the mistake of allowing him custody and power of attorney over her, thereby locking her into the legal rights of the husband who wished her dead. I feel that she was murdered with legal consent, because these vegetative patients sometimes regain health.

In the Marius case, I am surprised that protesters led by a person of means did not break into the zoo or at least protest at the gate and demand the custody of Marius at a fair price, since there has been such an uprising over his death.

People like to protest in using their free speech, but I think the Marius case is a case of publicity seeking, cultural differences (which I uphold), aside.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Jack Hanna agrees with you, SandCastles, except in the case where a wild animal attacks a human child.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Humans behave in such disgusting ways towards other creatures and other humans too. How do they sleep at night, luring an animal to its death? They justify it with rationalizations (in my opinion). They come up with excuses I think, like, "Animals die every day" to lower the value of the animal about to be killed. Every life is important and should be protected; every life has value. Just because animals die in the wild does not excuse humans not treating them with respect. But humans can justify anything, as they shower, put on their deodorant, adjust their clothing, brush their hair and pretend that clothing and soap and the right 'logical' explanations can wash away injustice and cruelty. If a zoo isn't prepared to care for animals until they die of old age (or sickness) they shouldn't have the animals. I thought a zoo was suppose to protect and preserve wild animals? Everything I have written is simply my opinion.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      The Copenhagen Zoo went on to euthanize four lions, including two young ones, in order to make room for other lions from outside the zoo.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Marc Bekoff, emeritus professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder, is a pioneering cognitive ethologist. On February 17 he wrote:

      'For some people, when the zoos use the word "euthanasia," the practice becomes sanitized and acceptable. But it isn't — it's disturbing and inhumane. While one might argue that many, if not all, animals in zoos suffer, killing animals who aren't "needed" isn't mercy killing, it's really a form of premeditated killing.'


      'I realize that the "M" word, "murder," is reserved for human beings, but perhaps it's time to use it for such heinous acts as killing healthy nonhuman animals in zoos (and in other venues).'


      "Compassionate conservation notes that the life of every single individual matters."


    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      It is thoroughly disgusting, dearabbysmom. I feel doubly bad for the next giraffe to go, who is a little smaller than Marius.

    • dearabbysmom profile image


      7 years ago from Indiana

      This whole situation is just sickening. Why are there too many giraffes taking up space? Is there no 'spay and neuter' policy when space is limited? These actions do seem to support raising crop animals. I just can't comprehend that this giraffe was allowed to live for 18 months, being fed and protected...and had no reason to suspect that was not the norm. No wonder he was so easily tricked. Disgusting.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      In the latest news on early Valentine's Day, I heard that the Copenhagen Zoo announced that it will probably kill another young giraffe for lion food, because it is taking up too much space.

      This is more proof to me that the zoo is raising crop animals and exploiting that action for publicity.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thanks for your insight, teaches12345. Perhaps the protests that have arisen from all of us will make a change.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      7 years ago

      It is sad that this zoo choose to highlight their business through such a brutal choice killing. I am in agreement with Hanna (who by the way does attend my church and is honest to the core). I hope this incident prevents other zoos from repeating this cruel act.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      That's they way I feel as well, AliciaC, although the zoo clams its the law not to give away or sell the animal - that's hard to believe.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is the first time that I've read about the fate of Marius. Killing him and turning his death into a spectacle is outrageous! Although I'm an animal lover, I understand that sometimes there is no alternative to killing an animal. However, if no alternative is discovered, the animal must be killed humanely and must also be treated with respect. It sounds like alternatives weren't explored in this situation, and the giraffe and its body were definitely treated disrespectfully!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank you all who made such thoughtful comments.

      In the midst of sadness and anger, the comment about giraffes getting together to decide a human was surplus made me laugh (thank your janiek13). It also reminds me of the Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man", which book was a cookbook.

      And thanks to Phyllis Doyle for sharing Jack's words and our agreement. Thanks to Ana1Az2 for reminding us about Dahmer and thanks to SandCastles for reminding us of the Stanley Milgrim experiment that I studied about 100 years ago, it seems. Thanks to Beth Perry and Eric for comments as well.

      I studied dozens of photos of the herd of young giraffes at the Copenhagen Zoo. They appear to be of two species, neither one endangered. The zoo officials chose the largest young giraffe, Marius, to serve as food. They are growing crop animals.

      Growing your own zoo food is fine, but tricking it into death and exploiting it for publicity are not.

    • Ann1Az2 profile image


      7 years ago from Orange, Texas

      It does not surprise me in the least that Jack Hanna would be dead set against this - and he's got a valid point. I also agree that people who abuse animals often go on to abuse people. Jeffery Dahmer never abused animals, but he did some strange things with their dead bodies and look where he wound up.

      I think this whole incident is a tragedy and I would not do business with that zoo either.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      7 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Patty, this is the first I have heard of this horrible, inhumane act of atrocity. It is incomprehensible to me and very difficult to grasp. I did some research after reading this hub and the feeling of disgust continues to grow. I will share this hub of yours in hopes that more people will share and share and share. This type of incident should be a worldwide effort to prevent this kind of thing. I admire you for writing and sharing this. Thank you.

    • janiek13 profile image

      Mary Krenz 

      7 years ago from Florida's Space Coast

      I am still in disbelief over the senseless killing of that beautiful animal. What makes people think that they are so much better than animals? I bet that the giraffes never got together and decided a human was surplus. I am disgusted with the Copenhagen Zoo and I think there should be sanctions of some kind.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      It is bad enough that animals have to die so that others can live but to make it into a form of entertainment and a publicity stunt, that to me is evil. Some people callously watch this sort of thing and they think it means they are strong but to me it simply means they either lack empathy or they are sadistic or they are simply following the crowd (other people aren't objecting so they daren't). The milgram study looked at how people are afraid to speak up to authority figures; they assume the person in authority knows what they are doing, especially when the authority figure is wearing a uniform or lab coat and acts in a very official way. The people in the experiment zapped a subject with electricity (it was fake but they didn't know it) because the official looking scientist told them to, even when the confederate (they guy pretending to be zapped) was crying and clutching his chest, saying that he had a heart condition. What they did to Maurius was very wrong in my opinion. Life is sacred, all life. You don't make an animal's death into an exhibition. To me that's as bad as feeding lions live animals so the crowd can watch the lions tearing the prey apart. I read that this is done in China. Just because death is a reality and just because Giraffes are killed for food does not make that exhibit okay because, in my opinion, it does not respect the animal.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 

      7 years ago from Tennesee

      Interesting perspective, Patty, and I think Jack Hanna made some astute observations. I do not want to see people take the law into their own hands, but I do feel the Danish lawmakers seriously need to think about changing or altering their laws protecting zoo animals.

      I don't know if the zoo was looking for publicity by this ugly spectacle. But it wouldn't surprise me; in our society a lot of people do foolish, mean things just to get their ten minutes of fame.

      One of the things I find distressing about this incident, are the number of people that see in this killing some educational benefit, and those that try to blame meat eaters into accepting some responsibility in it. This giraffe's death was turned into a blood bath spectator event and one far removed from teaching children anything about how animals feed in the wild, how nature selects which of the species is fit to thrive or not and how humans can respectfully take life in order to survive.

    • EricDockett profile image

      Eric Dockett 

      7 years ago from USA

      This is an alarming story. My beliefs are summed up in your last response: We are stewards of the Earth. It is our job to care for it, and its inhabitants (including each other), respectfully and wisely. What happened here sounds like it was neither. I've always liked Jack Hanna, and I agree with his criticism of this tragedy.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      7 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      We are are stewards of Earth and life on it, including our own. Professionally, I have often seen that people who abuse animals often abuse children and defenceless adults.

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      7 years ago from south Florida

      They garnered publicity all right - all of it negative!

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Reed 

      7 years ago

      It is sad to think that onlookers would've have been there for the thrill. I too hope that they were watching to obtain some sort of education or knowledge. What that is that couldn't be obtained through other means, I'm not sure, but do hope.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      7 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very interesting.


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