Paddy Power opens bets on which animal is likely to be killed next at Copenhagen Zoo

Bookmaker opens bets after four healthy lions were killed at the zoo this week

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The Independent Online

Paddy Power has opened up betting on which animal is likely to be killed next at Copenhagen Zoo, after four healthy lions were put down this week.

The bookmaker, which was recently ordered to withdraw an advert that offered a “money back if he walks” guarantee for betting on the Oscar Pistorius murder trial, singled out a zebra at the zoo as a 5/1 favourite of being killed next, followed by a polar bear at 8/1.

Odds on an antelope have been put at 6/1 and 14/1 on a tiger, while a hippopotamus is the "current outsider" at 40/1.

Paddy Power said they had tried to negotiate buying any remaining lions, but their offer has been refused by Ulrich Lindegaard Christensen, the zoo’s sales manager, who told them “he could not take their offer seriously”.

Copenhagen Zoo faced an international outcry after it euthanised a healthy giraffe because of its breeding procedures, before then putting down a pair of adult lions and two cubs.

After shooting Marius the giraffe in the head, zoo staff dissected him in front of a public crowd, including children, and fed him to the zoo's lions.

The bookmaker said it attempted to "save" Marius before his death by offering to rehouse him in Ireland, where he would have begun a new life as a racing giraffe in the "world's first ever giraffe race" - but this offer was also turned down. 

The company said it has since opened betting on which resident could be put down next “to help draw further attention on the zoo”.

When asked what it would do with any lions it procured, Paddy Power somewhat vaguely answered that they would form "the centrepiece of our football World Cup campaign – ‘putting the roar back into the Three Lions’," but refused to disclose any further details.