A German zoo, struggling from the economic downturn caused by the China-borne coronavirus, has devised a last ditch plan to save what it can of its animals by feeding some of them to each other. The zoo made the announcement a month after German Chancellor Angela Merkel was petitioned by animal sanctuaries for financial relief to the tune of 100 million Euros.
According to Die Welt and reported by the BBC, the Neumunster Zoo has run out of funds to feed its inhabitants. Its director, Verena Kaspari, told the media that the zoo made the difficult decision of listing animals to slaughter in order to keep the rest fed. Neumunster belongs to an association and is therefore not entitled to financial relief from the state.
Kaspari did not go into detail about which of the animals it planned to slaughter, but said that even doing so may not be enough to save the zoo from completely shutting down. The zoo, which houses various forms of marine wildlife including penguins and seals, requires plenty of fish per day to keep them fed. It goes without saying that zoos have to continue their operations even during the lockdown because the animals don’t stop needing to eat just because visitors aren’t paying to see them.
“If it comes to it, I’ll have to euthanize animals, rather than let them starve,” says Kaspari. The zoo may lose upwards of $200,000 this spring due to the coronavirus.
Several zoos and aquariums have managed to mitigate such drastic cost-cutting measures through financial donations from the public, as well as offering virtual online tours, like the San Diego Zoo.