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German zoo says it may have to "slaughter animals to feed other animals" during coronavirus lockdown

Inside look at how zoos care for animals during coronavirus pandemic
Inside look at how zoos care for animals duri... 02:30

Berlin — The shutdown of businesses over the coronavirus pandemic has plunged German zoos into a financial crisis as visitors are banned, leading one to consider drastic measures.

The spring sunshine would normally see German zoos and animal parks packed, but with no visitors, the Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany is begging for more donations, and warning that it might have to feed some of its animals to others in the park to keep them alive.

Plans for such a last-straw slaughter have already been drawn up, the zoo said.

Like all zoos in Germany, the Neumünster Zoo is currently relying entirely on donations. 

"Worst case scenario, if I no longer have any money to buy food, or if it should happen that my food supplier is no longer able to supply me due to new restrictions, then I would slaughter animals to feed other animals," zoo director Verena Caspari told German daily Berliner Morgenpost.

Female seal pup Jogi is pictured next to her mother in their enclosure at the zoo of Neumuenster, northern Germany.  CARSTEN REHDER

The Association of Zoological Gardens, to which 56 zoos and animal parks in Germany belong, has approached Chancellor Angela Merkel with a request for about 100 million euros in emergency aid.

The director of Leipzig Zoo, Jörg Junhold, said that between March 16 and April 19 the park has lost about 4 million euros in revenue.

Small-clawed otters walk through their enclosure at the Tierpark zoo in Neumuenster, northwestern Germany.  MAJA HITIJ

The city of Chemnitz said its zoo wouldn't be able to recover the losses from a normally busy Easter weekend over the course of the rest of the year.

According to the latest data from John Hopkins, there are more than 132,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany, which now sits behind the United States, Italy and Spain. Just over 3,500 people have died of COVID-19 in Germany, the data show. 

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