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Swiss zoo says baby hippo won't be fed to tigers

A SWISS zoo yesterday rejected suggestions that a baby hippopotamus could be euthanized and fed to the tigers because of lack of space.

Basel Zoo said hippo Farasi, who was born in November and has since become one of its star attractions, will stay in the zoo until a place is found for him elsewhere.

"We're confident we'll find a place for him," said spokeswoman Tanja Dietrich. Media reports that Farasi will be euthanized for lack of space were misleading, she added.

The Wall Street Journal reported that if zoo officials do not find a place for Farasi, they might put him into the nearby tiger cage or kill him - an allegation Dietrich rejected.

"There are rare cases in which we have to kill an animal" and feed it to carnivores in the zoo, Dietrich said. But this was unlikely to be an option in Farasi's case, she said.

Farasi has to stay with his mother for at least another year because he depends on her milk, she said.

European zoos have a policy of letting animals reproduce as appropriate for their species rather than sterilizing them or controlling birth rates, she said. This can lead to a surplus of offspring.


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