Zoo science director Jochen Reiter explained to Bild that at 24, the zebra had reached extreme old age and that it had been put down humanely according to animal rights rules.
Rather than disposing of the cadaver, the zoo keepers decided to reintroduce it to the circle of life by giving the lions a hearty meal.
— BILD Ruhrgebiet (@BILD_Ruhrgebiet) December 18, 2015
“For predators, feeding them with whole bodies is the best from a nutrition psychology point of view,” Reiter told Bild.
“In the animal there's everything: vitamins, innards, bones to scrape off tooth plaque. And it's very fresh meat. Our two lions will enjoy it for about a week.”
But the zoo's action bears more than a passing resemblance to last year's decision by Denmark's Copenhagen Zoo to feed the remains of a giraffe to lions after conducting a public dissection in front of children.
A different lion at Odense zoo became the object of a public dissection itself this year, raising a fresh wave of international media outcry.