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Danish zoo defends killing 4 lions in new uproar after giraffe deaths

Denmark Lions Killed-1.jpg

FILE This is a Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014 file photo of the carcass of Marius, a male giraffe, as it is eaten by lions after he was put down in Copenhagen Zoo . The zoo that faced protests for killing a healthy giraffe to prevent inbreeding says it has put down four lions, including two cubs, to make room for a new male lion. Citing the “pride’s natural structure and behavior,” the Copenhagen Zoo said Tuesday March 25, 2014 that two old lions had been euthanized as part of a generational shift. It's not known if the lions photographed are the ones that were put down by the zoo. (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Rasmus Flindt Pedersen, File) DENMARK OUT (The Associated Press)

A Danish zoo has defended its decision to kill two aging lions and two cubs, citing the risk of inbreeding and the arrival of a new male.

This week's cull has put the zoo on the defensive again, a month after it infuriated animal rights activists by killing a healthy giraffe, dissecting it in public and feeding it to the lions.

In statement Wednesday, the zoo said it had to put down the lions to make room for the new male, saying it wouldn't have been accepted by the pride if the old male were still around. The cubs were also killed because they were not old enough to fend for themselves and would have been killed anyway by the new male.

No public dissection was planned this time.