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Swedish zoo admits it has killed nine healthy lion cubs
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Swedish zoo admits it has killed nine healthy lion cubs

A Swedish zoo has killed nine healthy lion cubs over the last six years because they became 'surplus animals', its CEO has revealed.

Bo Kjellson said Borås Djurpark, in western Sweden, killed the cubs because they could not be sold or moved and because 'aggression became too big' in the group of lions.

He also said more of the gracious predators may be 'put to death' if they cannot be sent elsewhere and do not settle in the pride.

When animals born at the zoo do not fit into the group - or are not needed - they are killed, something the zoo's CEO calls a 'natural path'. Pictured: Two of the three cubs - named Kiara, Banzai and Kovu - who were born in 2014. They were killed the following year 

When animals born at the zoo do not fit into the group - or are not needed - they are killed, something the zoo's CEO calls a 'natural path'. Pictured: Two of the three cubs - named Kiara, Banzai and Kovu - who were born in 2014. They were killed the following year 

In 2016, four lions named after Harry Potter characters (pictured) - Weasley, Granger, Dolores and Potter - were born but on Tuesday Potter and Weasley were killed and Granger and Dolores sent to an unnamed zoo in the UK

In 2016, four lions named after Harry Potter characters (pictured) - Weasley, Granger, Dolores and Potter - were born but on Tuesday Potter and Weasley were killed and Granger and Dolores sent to an unnamed zoo in the UK

The CEO also said more of the gracious predators may be 'put to death' if they cannot be sent elsewhere and do not settle in the pride. Pictured: Two of the three cubs born in 2014, who were killed in 2015 

The CEO also said more of the gracious predators may be 'put to death' if they cannot be sent elsewhere and do not settle in the pride. Pictured: Two of the three cubs born in 2014, who were killed in 2015 

CEO Bo Kjellson (pictured) said Borås Djurpark, in western Sweden, killed the cubs because they could not be sold or moved and because 'aggression became too big' in the group of lions

CEO Bo Kjellson (pictured) said Borås Djurpark, in western Sweden, killed the cubs because they could not be sold or moved and because 'aggression became too big' in the group of lions

Discussing the cubs killed since 2012, Kjellson told Swedish broadcaster SVT: 'I think that they were killed after two years.'

He added: 'At that time we had already tried to sell or to relocate them at other zoos for a long time but, unfortunately, there were no zoos that could receive them - and when the aggression became too big in the group we had to remove some animals. 

'And it had to be them.'

According to Espressen, the lions put down were named Potter, Weasley, Simba, Rafiki, Nala, Sarabi, Kiara, Kovu and Banzai.

Simba, Rafiki, Nala and Sarabi were born in spring 2012 and all killed in autumn 2013.

Kiara, Banzai and Kovu were born in spring 2014 before being killed in the summer and autumn of 2015.

In 2016, four lions named for Harry Potter characters - Weasley, Granger, Dolores and Potter - were born but on Tuesday Potter and Weasley were killed and Granger and Dolores sent to an unnamed zoo in the UK.

Borås Djurpark, founded in 1962, is home to about 500 animals from 80 different species spread over nearly 100 acres of grounds.

Two of the three cubs born in 2014 are pictured above just after their birth at the zoo. Borås Djurpark released the images along with its announcement of their birth 

Two of the three cubs born in 2014 are pictured above just after their birth at the zoo. Borås Djurpark released the images along with its announcement of their birth 

Kiara, Banzai and Kovu (pictured) were born in spring 2014 before being killed in the summer and autumn of 2015

Kiara, Banzai and Kovu (pictured) were born in spring 2014 before being killed in the summer and autumn of 2015

But when animals born at the zoo do not fit into the group - or are not needed - they are killed, something Kjellson calls a 'natural path'. 

He added: 'It's no secret in any way and we do not try to hide that we're working this way.'

Speaking about the fate of cubs born in the zoo in future, he said: 'We will see'. 

He explained: 'Now the group works well, but some of them could become surplus animals, and then we will try to move them elsewhere.

'It could be that we have to put them to death'.

Also speaking to STV, Gothenburg University animal researcher Helena Pedersen said that killing animals is simply 'part of' running a zoo. 

She added: 'I think we need to think about why it is important for us to have zoos and if it is worth the price that the animals pay for it.'