Officials at a zoo in Denmark say they received death threats after the zoo killed a young giraffe and fed its carcass to lions because the animal was "unwanted."

Copenhagen Zoo spokesman Tobias Stenbaek told The Associated Press on Monday that he and the zoo's scientific director, Bengt Holst, received multiple threats via telephone and email. They quoted one threat as saying: "The children of the staff of Copenhagen Zoo should all be killed or should get cancer."

The giraffe, 18-month-old Marius, was killed with a bolt gun, then skinned and fed to lions in front of park visitors — including some children.

Animal rights activists massed outside the zoo to protest the killing Sunday, local media reported, as gruesome photos of the public autopsy spread like wildfire across international social media amid public outrage.

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