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Controversial Giraffe neck comes to Vienna

The neck of a baby giraffe put down at a Danish Zoo at the weekend, sparking outrage from animal rights activists, is on its way to Vienna to be used in research.

The Zoo said they had to kill the animal, called Marius, because it came from inbreeding and had bad genes. After shooting it, the Zoo's veterinarian then dissected the animal in front of visiting children before feeding some of the meat to lions nearby.

Some parts of the body were held back from being the lions' lunch and instead were sent to research projects around Europe, including one at the University of Vienna that is trying to crack the mystery of how giraffes communicate. Researchers at the Department of Cognitive Biology will examine the animal's vocal cords, tongue and pharynx.

"We suspect they use infrasound," researcher Angela Stoger said. "These sounds are imperceptible to us."

The veterinarian at the Danish zoo meanwhile has reported receiving nasty e-mails from animal lovers following the shooting of the giraffe, despite the fact that zoo's around the world regularly have to put down excess animals.

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