NewsOvercrowded Nuremberg Zoo plans euthanasia for excess baboons, sparking animal rights outcry

Overcrowded Nuremberg Zoo plans euthanasia for excess baboons, sparking animal rights outcry

Two chacma baboons, Papio ursinus, sitting in the fork of a tree. Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.. (Photo by: Sergio Pitamitz / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Two chacma baboons, Papio ursinus, sitting in the fork of a tree. Mashatu Game Reserve, Botswana.. (Photo by: Sergio Pitamitz / VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | VW Pics
10:44 AM EST, February 11, 2024

The zoo's predicament has been termed a "human-induced dilemma" by its director Dag Encke in his recent statement. He says it's a dilemma rooted in species protection, adding that "it demands all of us to make decisions that aren't easy".

The aforementioned statement was in relation to 45 Guinea baboons. Their sizeable group doesn't fit into the pavilion designed for them, and an expansion of the pavilion isn't viable. The proposed solution involves euthanising some of the baboons, who will then serve as subjects for scientific research, or become feed for other predators at the zoo.

Overcrowding Leads to Stress and Violence

The overcrowding is causing severe stress among the primates as it often results in violent confrontations ending in bloodshed. Previously, attempts were made to manage the population using contraception and by transferring some animals to other zoos.

Wild Release Not a Viable Solution

However, these measures have not halted the growth of the baboon troop. Additionally, releasing individual animals into the wild is not feasible, as explained by the zoo's director. The zoo has reached out to a monkey reserve too, but it already has 200 confiscated primates awaiting new homes. As Encke says, "Nobody at the zoo considers the current situation to be good. But it must be managed pragmatically."

He further emphasizes that the rapid population growth amongst the baboons at the zoo could endanger their survival as the overcrowding has resulted in older primates and fewer offspring.

Animal Rights Defenders Express Outrage

Animal protection organizations have sternly criticized the zoo's plans. The German Association for Animal Care's James Brückner deems this decision as a "declaration of bankruptcy".

Brückner specifically notes that the current problem of 45 animals residing in an enclosure designed for 25 baboons is an issue the zoo has "effectively fostered over the years". He highlights that "the overcrowding issue could've been addressed much earlier." He labels the current decision to euthanise the baboons as irresponsible.

Animal rights organization PETA has also voiced its protest, urging the zoo to stop breeding baboons.

Guinea baboons, currently on the brink of extinction, primarily inhabit the westernmost parts of Africa.

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