The coronavirus pandemic has left a zoo in Germany to resort to desperate cost-cutting measures in order to stay afloat given the current lockdown circumstances that has forced closures of visitor attractions.
Zoo to feed animals to each other
A struggling zoo in Germany has been forced to take a heart-breaking decision in order to survive due to the lack of business amid the coronavirus outbreak. According to BBC News, a zoo director in northern Germany has admitted that some of the animals in its might have to be fed to others, if the zoo is to survive.
"We've listed the animals we'll have to slaughter first," NeumÃ¼nster Zoo's Verena Kaspari told German newspaper Die Welt. Although Kaspari did not mention which animals will be slaughtered but said that the "unpleasant" decision would be used as a last resort as the animals cannot be taken elsewhere.
Kaspari added that the cost-cutting measure might still not be enough to cover their financial losses resulting from a lack of visitors to the zoo. The NeumÃ¼nster Zoo has more than 700 animals including polar bears, monkeys, reptiles, otters, wild cats and birds.
She gave an example of the zoo's penguins and seals, which require an exorbitant amount of fish every day in order to stay alive, and unlike other businesses, zoos cannot afford to go dormant during the pandemic due to the animals' daily feeding and enclosure maintenance requirements.
"If it comes to it, I'll have to euthanize animals, rather than let them starve," said Kaspari, who estimates that the business could lose almost $200,000 worth of income this spring.
Zoo association begs Angela Merkel for funds
Visitor attractions have been closed down to contain the spread of the deadly virus and without the income, which is derived from visitors, zoos are struggling to look after the animals. This led Germany's association for zoos and animal sanctuaries to write to Chancellor Angela Merkel for 100 million euros to help them look after their animals during the coronavirus crisis.
"Unlike other organizations, we cannot just run down our operations, our animals must be fed and looked after," Joerg Junhold, president of the Association of Zoos told Reuters.