A file photo dated 17 July 2013 shows a lion and her cub entering the lions' enclosure in Copenhagen Zoo for the first time. - EPA/MADS NISSEN
COPENHAGEN: A zoo in Denmark came under the media spotlight once again after putting down a family of four lions to make way for a new young male lion.
Copenhagen Zoo was the centre of controversy last month when it culled a young giraffe, which was then dissected and fed to lions in front of visitors and young children.
Now, the same zoo said that it "had to euthanise" two lion cubs and their parents after they failed to re-home them, according to a BBC report.
The 16-year-old male and 14-year-old female lion were said to be nearing the end of their natural lives in captivity, said the zoo's spokesperson.
"Because of the pride of lions' natural structure and behaviour, the zoo has had to euthanise the two old lions and two young lions who were not old enough to fend for themselves," the zoo said in a statement.
According to the zoo, the male cub "would have been killed by the new male lion as soon as he got the chance."
The zoo reportedly said it had asked other parks to take the 10-month-old cubs, but had received no offers.
The new male lion is due to arrive at Copenhagen Zoo over the next few days, and will be introduced to the zoo's two female lions, born in 2012, which have reached breeding age.
Last month, the manager of the zoo received death threats after a healthy 18-month-old giraffe called Marius was put down and later dissected and fed to lions in front of visitors.
Copenhagen Zoo said the action was necessary to prevent in-breeding and Marius was put down with a bolt gun after being anaesthetised.
The zoo said that Marius did not fit in with the park's breeding programme, but the move shocked animal lovers around the world.
However, despite public outcry over the death, the zoo said it did not believe it was necessary to change its procedures.
A spokesman for the zoo said there would be no public dissection of the lions since "not all our animals are dissected in front of an audience".