Norwegian Zoo feeds a zebra to tigers in front of kids

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Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
It wasn't these Zebras. These are fine.

A zoo in Norway has fed a decapitated zebra to tigers in front of visitors, including children.

Kristiansand zoo said the zebra was put down before it had its head cut off according to NRK.

The zoo said it was "surplus to the herd" meaning it basically had too many.

Vet Rolf-Arne Olberg said there's no point in hiding it: "I think most realise that the tiger eats meat.

I understand that people react but it is quite normal a tiger eats its prey".

The zoo feeds around 80 zebras, or similar animals, to predators every year.

"We've done this before, often in front of hundreds watching" says Olberg.

So - while you might have seen this story on lots of sites, it sounds fairly common in at least one zoo in Norway.

Image source, Getty Images

Would it happen in the UK?

The idea of a healthy zebra being fed to tigers because it is "surplus" might be horrifying to many Brits.

It's not unusual though - in fact it's commonplace in the UK, according to the organisation which represents zoos.

The British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums, or BIAZA, told Newsbeat: "We accept there are cultural differences across Europe with regards to public perception of this practice.

However, the use of equines as a food source for carnivores, both domestic and exotic, is common practice."

Image source, Google
Image caption,
The zoo is just a (very long and probably fatal) swim away. Are we so different?

In other words - even if some people don't like seeing it, feeding horses to meat-eaters is totally normal.

The BBC's Horizon estimates that between 3,000 and 5,000 animals are killed in European zoos every year.

The BIAZA says that zoos have a duty to look after big groups of animals and sometimes this means they have to kill individuals.

Where they are allowed to it makes sense to feed these dead animals to canivores such as tigers.

Zoos do use other methods of controlling the numbers of animals they have, including contraception.

In public?

In the UK corpses would usually, but not always, be chopped up before being fed to predators.

But according to BIAZA it's important that animals are able to exhibit behaviour they would in the wild and that's why giving them a whole carcass, complete with skin to tear at, is good for their welfare.

It's not something zoos try and hide - as part of a Channel 4 documentary Chester Zoo recently showed a calf's headless corpse as it was prepared for two komodo dragons.

In fact, BIAZA says, it's quite normal for whole rabbits and other smaller prey, to be fed to animals in zoos in full view of the public.

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