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22 May, 2020 10:09

Animals may be culled en masse to prevent STARVATION in the world’s zoos as Covid-19 lockdown bites

Animals may be culled en masse to prevent STARVATION in the world’s zoos as Covid-19 lockdown bites

An Indonesian zoo is considering killing some of its animals, including deer, to feed to other exhibits. Sadly this is not unique to Indonesia, with coronavirus lockdowns around the world making it harder for zoos to keep running.

Bandung Zoo usually earns around 1.2 billion rupiah ($81,744) every month, but it is rapidly running out of food, as the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing lockdown has threatened its budget and thus food supplies for the animals. 

Some 850 animals are already on a restricted diet as a cost-saving measure, but zoo authorities are considering a “worst-case scenario” of culling some animals to feed others, should they run out of food as expected in July.

“We have around thirty dotted deer, and we have identified the old and unproductive ones (who can no longer breed) to be slaughtered to save the carnivores, such as the Sumatran tiger and Javan leopard,” said zoo spokesman Sulhan Syafi’i.

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The zoo needs more than 400 kg of fruit per day and 120 kg of meat every other day, and it is now relying on donations from the public to keep the animals alive. 

Some of the primates have reportedly become increasingly aggressive over the lack of food, though the smaller portions still meet minimum animal welfare standards, claims Syafi’i. 

Current figures from the Indonesia Zoo Association estimate that the vast majority of the country's 60 zoos can only feed their animals until the end of May. 

The zoo's plight is far from unique; wildlife sanctuaries the world over are struggling to feed their animals during the pandemic. 

The Neumunster Zoo in northern Germany has begged for donations to prevent a culling of some of its animals to save others. 

"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 Kaspari said in April. 

The Association of Zoological Gardens, which represents the 56 zoos and animal parks in Germany, appealed to Chancellor Angela Merkel for 100 million euros in emergency aid.

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Meanwhile, New Zealanders have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed the 400 chimps, meerkats, rhinos and other animals at the Orana Wildlife Park on the outskirts of Christchurch, which faces a similar lack of food as revenues drop while much of the world remains under at least partial lockdown.

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