12th February 2024

Last week, Nuremberg Zoo in Germany announced their plans to undertake 'population management', by killing up to 20 healthy Guinea baboons and feeding their bodies to other animals. The zoo states that for optimum safety and comfort, their enclosure is designed to hold 20 monkeys. Due to their breeding programme and failed contraceptive efforts, their tribe of baboons has risen to 45 individuals.

The zoo claims that the baboons are unable to be released in to the wild in their native areas of Sub-Sarahan Africa, and that no sanctuary space is available for them either, as most are also operating at full capacity. Therefore, under the advice of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA), the most reasonable solution to this problem, is to kill half of the tribe

Their justification for this cruelty, is that members of the group who are not useful for breeding, should be culled so as to maintain a healthy, effective reproductive colony. They claim that some members of the tribe are 'too old', and the group on a whole are not reproducing enough due to overcrowding, which is causing damage to the social structure. Yet if these animals cannot be released to the wild, and they are willing to kill healthy individuals who they claim they are unable to rehome, why are they continuing to entertain the idea of captive reproduction at all? What is the purpose of maintaining a "healthy and effective reproductive colony" at all, if these animals will never see freedom in the wild, or help in-situ conservation measures to protect the species?

As shocking as this story is, the killing of 'surplus' animals is commonplace in zoos and aquariums.

Culling (or killing) is considered an acceptable form of population management, and an often-neccessary part of a breeding programme. According to the IUCN, Guinea baboons are classed as 'Near threatened', meaning that their population may be at risk in the future, but they are not currently endangered. It is clear that the breeding and killing of a species that is not yet endangered in the wild, is purely for the purposes of profit. Zoos and aquariums continue to exploit animals, and spread the lie of conservation as justification.

“In species conservation, we find ourselves in a man-made dilemma that requires us all to make decisions that don’t feel good,” says zoo director Dr. Dag Encke. We believe that this 'dilemma' is wholly unnecessary. Breeding within zoos is cruel and unethical, and results in completely avoidable deaths and misery. It is time to lift the veil and show the world the reality of what happens within zoos.

The public are rightly shocked at Nuremberg Zoo's announcement, but the devastating reality is that this abuse and suffering is happening across every zoo, every day.

Help us to end the lies!

CLICK HERE to take part in our 'No More Zoo Secrets' online action and call on DEFRA to ensure that ALL zoos tell the truth about the deaths, births, medical procedures that happen to the animals under their care.