New teaching case: Marius the Giraffe
In the early months of 2014, the Copenhagen Zoo found itself at the centre of a media storm. The Zoo had not been prepared for the massive reaction from the Danish and international community to the culling of a young giraffe, Marius. Two issues were at the centre of the debate: Firstly, why did the Copenhagen Zoo feel that they had to put down a perfectly healthy young giraffe, and secondly why did they choose to do a public autopsy allowing young children to watch? The case addresses responsible management issues in that it puts focus on management decisions made in the Copenhagen Zoo, which make perfect sense to them, but which are in stark contrast to what many members of the general public consider ethical behaviour. The case highlights the information obligation that an institution of the Zoo’s nature has towards the general public, and it questions whether this information obligation was handled properly or whether another strategy would have had a less damaging impact on the Zoo’s image. This case study has been written drawing on news media sources at the time when the events unfolded. For background information, the websites of the Copenhagen Zoo and the other animal wildlife parks mentioned in the case have been used.
This case can be downloaded by educators as a clean pdf by viewing the on-line inspection copy. Access is unlimited and you may print as many copies as you wish for use with your students.