Photo: Giraffe Detail, ©2012 Jo Christian Oterhals on Flickr, permission by Creative Commons license
I was feeling a sense of contentment and joy yesterday as I reviewed the tasks I needed to accomplish, and I consciously made a decision to approach all that I had to do that day from that positive place. However, life has a funny way of throwing you curve balls just when you think you have everything under control.
Then I saw the shocking headline Young Zoo Giraffe Put Down, Fed to Lions. What!? In an instant all my good feelings vanished, and the focus of my entire day shifted.
Apparently Marius, an 18 month-old giraffe born and living at the Copenhagen Zoo, was “surplus”—accredited zoos were full of giraffes and his particular genes were not needed. So, despite petitions and offers from other possible places of residence, on February 9, 2014 at 9:20 a.m. Marius was shot in the head with a bolt gun just as he was reaching for his favorite treat of rye bread. His death was public—in front of children and their parents—and if that was not shocking enough, he was then autopsied and dismembered for delivery to the lions and other zoo predators. Seriously?
Many arguments were advanced to support the zoo’s decision, stressing that conservation is not always clean, and that it was done to prevent inbreeding.
I could feel my anger building, and I wanted to ask officials some hard questions.
Why were they breeding giraffes in the first place if there was no place for this particular young giraffe and his “common” genes to go? Couldn’t the zoo have made different choices, starting before Marius was conceived?
Another question: Is it a good idea to kill the giraffe and cut it up in front of children? While I do believe that all children should know about the cycle of life, many perceive events and messages literally. It is very possible that the message they received is that it is okay to kill animals that you don’t need, which is hardly a conservation message. And while I am glad that the physical essence of Marius was not wasted—that his body was consumed by the lions and other predators—I’m not sure that anyone else benefited.
And finally I confronted my biggest question: Had the Copenhagen Zoo (and by extension the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria, the zoo organization that accredits zoos and establishes rules regarding in-breeding) violated the trust of the animals that they care for? I felt that knowing the answer was really important.
In Why I bring people to the zoo I wrote, “With the assistance of the animals and my spirit guides I have learned that animals are spiritual and energetic beings…” Something that is not “…recognized nor understood by the discipline of scientific analysis nor the general public whose level of awareness is largely dependent on the educational efforts of the zoo.”
Zoo animals are ambassadors for their species, and as such they deserve the respect due a human ambassador. They are representatives of the Other Nations, and they are here to help us heal the broken covenant between mankind, the animals and Mother Earth.
As I contemplated my anger and this feeling of betrayed trust I knew that I was being called to go on a shamanic journey for guidance, but before doing that I needed to clear myself of all of the negative emotions that had been generated around the killing of Marius. Those emotions certainly did not serve the animals or myself, and would only get in the way of my being able to hear the message clearly.
After some energy clearing and the release of tears I had not realized I had been suppressing, I was instructed to journey immediately.
With my guides at my side I found myself traveling up the Rainbow to the Upper World. After greeting the Keeper I found myself face-to-face with a herd of what I thought at first were bison, before realizing they were Cape Buffalo. Apparently the Elders had decided to take a different form this time, one more appropriate to Marius’ country of origin—Africa.
I asked them if Marius had been one of the special teachers who had chosen to do specific work in the zoo. The answer was no, he was not a Master Teacher.
I then asked if I could speak with him, and permission was granted. Marius appeared in front of me, and interestingly at that moment I realized that I had not yet seen a photo of Marius when he was alive.
His energy was calm and gentle. I asked him how he was doing, he showed me his location on the plains of Africa, and I could see other giraffes around him. I got a sense of freedom and contentment; he was content with both his physical life and his life in spirit. He had no regrets about his life, no regrets about his death. He lived in the moment with acceptance. Amazing.
I asked Cape Buffalo Elders about the meaning of all of this. They replied that it is part of the divine plan to help shift consciousness. Yes, they said, the pact was broken by the Copenhagen Zoo—the pact between the animals that live there and the zoo caretakers—the pact that says the zoo will respect and care for them.
The Elders also said that the pact was broken long before the death of Marius. What is missing from all zoos is the awareness that animals possess a spirit, something our indigenous ancestors knew and respected. Animals are not just physical beings—they are also energetic and spiritual—and that reality must be honored for health and wholeness of all beings. They said that no decision should be based solely on science or logic—for animals and people are more than that.
So essentially the healing message I received is that there is potential for great good to come from Marius’s death. With the amount of negative publicity that has been generated it is very possible that policy may change at many zoos, not just this one, in which case Marius’ life will have been offered in service to the highest good.
The rules need to change, and that can only happen when awareness expands.
I’ve one final question and an offer for zoos everywhere: Are you are willing to explore incorporating a spiritual and energetic approach into zoo policies, programs and support for the animals? If you are, I’m willing to help.
And what can everyone else do? Spread the word. Express your opinion to zoos and zoo organizations. Without attachment to the outcome, do ceremony with, and for, the animals or include them in your prayers. If you are trained in Reiki Level 2 send Reiki to the situation for the highest good (see this article for guidelines).
But most important of all—open your heart to the animals and ask to be taught. Listen to their wisdom—discover who they truly are. The Animal Ambassadors, the Other Nations, are asking us to hear them. Will you answer their call?
Interested in learning how to connect more deeply with animals through healing energy and ceremony? Check our Calendar for upcoming teleclasses.
VIDEO: See how the animals respond when we approach them with respect in Ceremony with the Lions, conducted with the lions of the Woodland Park Zoo in honor of tragically killed wild African lion Cecil.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
In private practice since 1996, Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic practitioner, author and artist. As an animal shaman she views her mission as one of building bridges between people and animals through healing sessions, classes, ceremonies and events such as A Walk on the Wild Side: Answering the Call of the Wild.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.
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