Quebec's Parc Safari zoo says it was one of many organizations that tried to save Marius the giraffe from being killed at a Danish zoo and then fed to lions.

Francis Lavigne, the Canadian zoo's assistant curator, said that when he heard about the decision to kill Marius, he tried to get in touch with the Copenhagen Zoo.

“I tried to call with no answer. I know our president tried also to send an email, tried to contact them too ... We could have taken that giraffe.”

copenhagen zoo marius giraffe

Marius the giraffe was killed on Sunday, despite an online petition with more than 20,000 signatures.

Despite the willingness of zoos like Parc Safari to take Marius, as well as from one individual who wanted to buy the giraffe for 500,000 euros (about $750,000 Cdn), the Copenhagen Zoo went ahead with its plans to kill Marius.

The Copenhagen Zoo said Marius's death was necessary to prevent inbreeding. The two-year-old male was killed on Sunday using a bolt pistol.

In a move that prompted another wave of controversy, the zoo invited members of the public to watch while the giraffe was skinned and fed to the lions.

“I don't think, personally, it`s something that kids need to see,” Lavigne said.

“If they don't understand what's going on, I don't necessarily approve, but it is something that could be educational for veterinarians.”

Lavigne said the giraffe died needlessly.

“Every time an animal is born, we make sure before the baby is made by the parents that either we're going to take care of it for its entire life, or another Canadian institution or institution in the world is going to take it.”