Swedish zoo Boras Djurpark euthanises 'surplus' lions

Potter and Weasley along with their surviving sisters Granger and Dolores shortly after birth.
Potter and Weasley along with their surviving sisters Granger and Dolores shortly after birth. Photo credit: Boras Djurpark

A Swedish zoo is facing a media storm after it admitted to euthanising nine healthy lions.

Boras Djurpark in western Sweden admitted to killing the lions after they failed to integrate into the zoo's pride, Swedish newspaper Expressen reports.

Furthermore the zoo could put down more of the animals if they have the same problem in later litters.

All the lions killed were born at the zoo in three different litters between 2012 and 2016 before being put down.

Potter, Weasley, Simba, Rafiki, Nala, Sarabi, Kiara, Kovu and Banzai were all named after pop culture characters from The Lion King and Harry Potter and lived around one or two years before being euthanised.

Potter and Weasley were the most recent, born in 2016. They were euthanised on January 2.

The zoo says it was unable to find a new home for the animals and instead opted to put them down due to aggressive behaviour in the pride.

The zoo defended the decision to euthanise the young lions in a statement from CEO Bo Kjellson.

"In accordance with animal welfare, our animals should be able to express all natural behaviors possible, including breeding and the caring of offspring," he said.

"The euthanasia takes place at a biologically relevant junction, such as weaning, leaving the family unit or any other social group.

"We are very transparent about this concept, both in our communication with our visiting guests and students, as well as in our communication with the media."

Following the euthanisation the lions, the bodies were donated to the Leibnitz-Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research and the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria bio-bank.

Newshub.