Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by animalszoos, 16 Apr 2017.
What happens to dead animals in zoos?
Do some zoos have special graveyards?
It depends on circumstances and local law.
Absolute majority of dead animals end in rendering plants, after autopsy´s found out the cause of death, .
Some animals may be handed over to natural museums, taxidermists, universities etc.
Some animals (like hoofstock) can be fed to carnivores, if their death is caused by fatal injury or they were intentionally culled (and local law allows it).
I don´t think any zoo has a special graveyard. It is illegal to just burry dead animals in many countries, especially considering most zoos are situated in the middle of dense human settlements where very strict hygiene standarts apply.
Agree with above except for the part about feeding them to carnivores. Here in America that would never happen (though it does happen in some places in Europe). Personally I have no problem with feeding dead antelope or the like to zoo carnivores, but the public in my country would not stand for it (and animal rights extremists would be given too much ammunition by it).
there's a thread here too, on the same question: What do zoos do with the bodies of dead animals?
Yes, it does occur in Europe - I think Copenhagen zoo does this (or at least have done it) when they fed a giraffe to the lions.
I know of other zoos in the Middle East that have killed animals and fed them to the larger carnivores simply because they did not have enough funds to feed them
Mumbai Zoo also stuffs/planned to stuff its dead animals and puts them on display.
Proposed taxidermy museum at Mumbai's Byculla Zoo | CNN Travel
Although I am not sure if the zoo has still continued this practice as the articles were from a long time ago...
Yes, Copenhagen does feed most of its dead animals to its carnivores. I have seen photos of lions eating zebras and tigers eating impalas. I have also seen many animal heads in the polar bear exhibit on previous visits.
Here in the UK, it is by law that the animal corpses get put into yellow plastic bags and frozen in special freezers. Then the keepers would have to call the local council to come and collect it where it will then be incinerated. This applies to all animals except for most invertebrates, which I have been told, can just be disposed of in a normal waste bin.
No, not quite. There is nothing in law that stipulates dead animals be put in yellow bags or that they get 'frozen in special freezers'. How many bags would you need to put a dead elephant in - or would you just need a single big one?
The council is not responsible for disposing of dead zoo animals. Most zoos will have an arrangement with a specialist waste company that will remove and incinerate biological waste (such companies will often do pet cremations and also dispose of biological waste from farms, hospitals and veterinary practices). These companies may well request zoos bag up their deadstock but this is different from being a legal obligation.
Zoos may put dead animals in freezers as a way of preserving them until a post mortem can be performed or until the animal can be collected by a taxidermist.
There is a not inconsiderable cost involved in contracting a waste company to dispose of biological waste and a zoo is unlikely to organise such such a collection for every dead individual (it wouldn't be realistic to expect a zoo to fork out several hundred pounds to dispose of, for instance, a Turkish spiny mouse). A zoo will usually wait until there is enough dead stock to justify the expense of calling in the waste disposal contractor. So freezing dead animals is the surest way of minimising antisocial odours (especially during the summer months) in the interim.
In the zoo where I work, many dead animals ended up waiting for a taxidermist in the freezer, others are send away for a post mortem. Some animals (or parts of them) are used for education (skulls, skin etc), while several herbivores were indeed fed to our carnivores, mostly animals like chickens, pigeons, guinea pigs or rabbits - animals few taxidermists have interest in.
- Most animals are either cremated or buried, really depending on how much space the zoo has.
- Some prey species that die naturally are fed to carnivores. Of course it is not possible to do this with animals that are euthanased with drugs. I've never noted any opposition to this, on the other hand animals are not put down for the purpose of feeding them out.
- Museums occasionally take animals for specimens.
- Parts of animals may be kept for education or research. There are a couple of "frozen zoos" that keep reproductive parts frozen as an insurance.
- Most zoos have a small graveyard for "special" animals.
In zoos such as the Fort Worth Zoo, the animals are tested to see what killed them. After that, they are almost all cremated minus some samples of body tissues or organs that are donated for science. They must work fast for large animals like elephants and giraffes before they decompose.
Just came across this article from Hamilton Zoo (New Zealand) which may be of interest to some people on this thread:
Chimpanzee’s ashes returned to Hamilton zoo
Zoo director Stephen Standley said although chimpanzees were always cremated, zoo protocol meant any other animals who died at Hamilton Zoo were subject to a post-mortem on-site, then were buried in the zoo's grounds. Burial services were not generally held, he said.
"We have to get approval from the Ministry of Primary Industries for disposal of any animal carcasses, so for burial there's effectively a communal burial area behind the scenes.
"It's almost like on-farm."
Zoo director Stephen Standley said cremation was a process reserved for chimpanzees, partly because they were sent off-site for a post-mortem and "partly because we treat them as a little more special".
"Let's face it, they're very intelligent animals and so we treat them a little bit differently."
Related question; What would be the situation for smaller mammals like mice and rat species? Would it be okay to use them as reptile food? It can't be much difference whether a python gets a fancy mouse or a spiny mouse. Is that a realistic proposition or do they have to be domestic rather than a wild species?
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