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This Zoo May Feed Some Animals To Others As Lockdown Leaves It Struggling To Buy Food

This Zoo May Feed Some Animals To Others As Lockdown Leaves It Struggling To Buy Food

The longer this lockdown continues, the more dreadful the financial situation becomes making it realistic for the Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany to consider its absolute, last option- to slaughter it's zoo animals and feed it to others.

Image Source: Getty Images/Beverley Way / EyeEm (Representative)

A zoo in Germany is considering a drastic measure of turning some of its residents into food, following the shortage of funds and disruption in supply chains due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and the resultant lockdown. The longer this lockdown continues, the more dreadful the financial situation becomes making it realistic for the Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany to consider its absolute, last option- to slaughter it's zoo animals and feed it to others. The Neumünster Zoo, which houses more than 700 animals of over 100 species, drafted an emergency plan listing the order of particular animals who would be euthanized to bear the cost, revealed zoo director Verena Kaspari. 



 

Although it is uncertain as to which animals would be slaughtered first, a 12-feet tall polar bear named Vitus-the largest of his kind- has been said to be the last animal to go. Feeding animals like Vitus, as well as seals and penguins, require huge quantities of fresh fish every day, she explained according to BBC News. Speaking to German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), Kasari said, "If -- and this is really the worst, worst case of all -- if I no longer have any money to buy feed, or if it should happen that my feed supplier is no longer able to supply due to new restrictions, then I would slaughter animals to feed other animals." Furthermore, she expressed that she would choose to euthanize some of the zoo's animals rather than having them starve. 



 

Easter used to be one of the busiest times of the year that would attract thousands of families. The money spent by them during that weekend would help the zoos sustains for the rest of the year, but the unprecedented spread of the contagion didn't allow it this year. Speaking to the news agency, Kasari revealed that the Neumünster Zoo is solely operating on donations ever since a nation-wide shutdown was put in place on March 15. According to CNN, the German government began rolling out an economic rescue package worth up to €750 billion ($825 billion)- which is among the largest relief packages launched anywhere in the world. Although the packages include measures that urge the government to lend money to businesses, take stakes in companies, and support workers who have been laid off, it's not clear if zoos are receiving funds. 



 

"We're an association and don't get any city money, and all the state money we've applied for so far hasn't arrived yet," she said, adding that the zoo is no longer generating any revenue from visitors since it stopped operating following the lockdown. The Association of Zoological Gardens (VdZ), a zoo association based in Berlin with members in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Spain, has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to provide €100 million in emergency aid. The VdZ, representing 56 zoos in Germany, also includes Neumünster Zoo. 



 

In a letter to the country's government, the association reiterated that many of the resident animals in its member zoos are endangered species and a part of international conservation breeding programs. "A possible loss of this valuable animal population would be a bitter setback for our struggle to conserve biodiversity and would, therefore, amount to a catastrophe," said VdZ President Jörg Junhold in a statement. The association further noted that unlike other facilities, zoos cannot actually shut down or limit its operations to manage its losses.  Even if visitors stop acquainting the place, there still are animals who need to be fed and cared for which often turns out to be a rather expensive endeavor. 



 

Meanwhile, the president and CEO of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Dan Ashe revealed that the U.S. is also feeling the economic pressure, but is confident that members of zoos are taking good care of the animals. "While all AZA members are currently operating under severe economic stress, none is in a position where animal care is compromised," he told BuzzFeed News. "If a similar situation [as the Neumünster zoo] were to occur at an AZA-accredited facility, I am confident AZA and its members would find a way to provide assistance, including by moving any animals the facility could not care for."

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