Corona Virus: German zoos are in struggle for survival


In normal times, panda twins attract many visitors to the Berlin Zoo

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In normal times, panda twins attract many visitors to the Berlin Zoo

Germany’s zoos are used to congestion during sunny Easter holidays, but today they face a difficult period, looking for aid under the stress of closures due to the Coronavirus.

One of the zoos, in northern Germany, may have to feed some of its animals to the flesh of other animals from its inmates, according to its director.

“We started sorting out the animals that will be slaughtered before others,” Verena Kaspari, director of the Numunster Park, told local media.

At the Berlin Zoo, the twin young pandas, their fans are no longer able to see them except online.

“The little pandas are so kind, and we always think that visitors should see them up close. We don’t want them to grow up before we re-open our doors,” garden spokeswoman Felin Hachmeister told the German Press Agency.

Great appetite

The director of the Numunster Park Verena Kaspari said that killing some animals in order to live another would be a “nasty and finally option”, but it would not solve the park’s financial crisis.

Seals and penguins need large amounts of fresh fish every day, “and we may have to kill the animals for mercy with them, instead of letting them die of hunger,” according to Kaspari.

The garden referred to is owned by an association whose expenditures are not covered by the government emergency fund for small companies.

It is estimated that the garden will lose 175 thousand euros this spring.

Germany’s zoos are trying to ask for a hundred million euros from the government, as well as asking for help from the public.

The “National Association of Zoos in Germany” indicates that gardens, unlike other sectors, cannot go into hibernation and reduce their costs. It is necessary to feed the animals every day, and take care of them, in addition to preparing the places designated for animals that are used to tropical climates at a temperature of more than twenty degrees Celsius.

According to the association’s president, Jorg Janhold, the closing period resulting from the outbreak of the Corona epidemic costs the typical German zoo about half a million euros a week.

In Austria, the SchOnborn Zoo, one of the most important tourist facilities in Vienna, has announced that it can continue for some time by drawing on its reserves from its previous resources. But she sent 70 percent of her 230 workers to their homes on temporary leave for three months.

Austria has a job system that supports jobs in the short term, and allows workers to take three months leave, without losing their jobs, if employers suffer from difficulties.

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Seals have no one to visit

Animals are longing for people

And some workers in zoos indicate that the current crisis has had emotional repercussions for some animals that yearn for the attention they receive from the public.

“Monkeys in particular like to watch people,” said Felin Hachmeister, spokeswoman for the Berlin Zoo. She added, “Seals and parrots were fascinated by visitors, and now it looks boring.”

Last week, the Moscow Zoo said that two giant pandas “miss something, they are starting to approach anyone who passes near their fence.”

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