German zoo to “feed animals to each other” amid coronavirus lockdown

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Zoos that should have been crowded over the Easter holiday break are now desolate amid coronavirus lockdowns.

A zoo director in northern Germany has admitted that some animals may soon have to be fed to others due to dried up funds. “We’ve listed the animals we’ll have to slaughter first,” Verena Kaspari from Neumünster Zoo told German newspaper Die Welt.

Ms Kaspari said killing animals would be a last resort, but the large appetites of exotic animals would still leave a dent in their finances. “If it comes to it, I’ll have to euthanise animals, rather than let them starve,” she said.

“At the worst, we would have to feed some of the animals to others.” According to Ms Kaspari, Neumünster Zoo is not covered by the state emergency fund for small business.

She estimates that the zoo’s loss of income will be about $200,000 between the months of March and June. Neumünster Zoo, among others in Germany, are together requesting government aid worth over A$170 million to keep them afloat.

The Association of Zoological Gardens said that unlike many other businesses, zoos cannot minimise costs during lockdown as animals still have to be fed and looked after. Chief of the Association of Zoological Gardens Jörg Junhold said the lockdown was costing a typical German zoo about $600,000 per week in lost turnover.

Berlin Zoo has infant panda twins that are an attraction that would normally draw major crowds, but are bare due to the lockdown.

“The panda twins are adorably sweet,” spokeswoman for Berlin Zoo Philine Hachmeister told DPA news agency.”Constantly we’re thinking ‘the visitors should be watching them live’.

We don’t want the little pandas to be grown up by the time we finally reopen.”Schönbrunn Zoo, one of Vienna’s top attractions, said it is drawing on existing savings for the short-term.

However, on 1 April it sent 70 per cent of its 230 staff on three months’ unpaid leave, so that workers did not lose their jobs.

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