The revelation comes in the wake of the international furore over the killing of Marius, a healthy 18-month-old giraffe, by Copenhagen Zoo. It has since been established that five of the animals have been put down by zoos in Denmark since 2012.
Across Europe, 22 healthy zebras, four hippos and two Arabian Oryx were also put down. The Oryx were killed at Edinburgh and London zoos in 2000 and 2001.
Several German zookeepers were prosecuted in 2010 for killing three tiger cubs at Magdeburg Zoo. However, some zoos, such as Twycross in Warwickshire, have a policy of not putting down healthy animals.
Dr Lesley Dickie, executive director of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (Eaza), told BBC Radio 4’s The Report that between 3,000 and 5,000 healthy animals are put down every year across Europe. “That’s our estimate for all animals management euthanised in the zoo, be it tadpoles…