The longer that the coronavirus lockdowns continue and the the more dire financial situations become, the more realistic it is that Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany will have to consider its absolute, last resort plan: slaughtering some of its zoo animals to feed others.
Though it’s unclear which animals would be slaughtered first, a polar bear named Vitus — which stands nearly 12 feet tall — would be the last animal to go.
“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,” Kaspari told the news agency.
Kaspari said she would rather euthanize the zoo’s animals than have them starve.
CNN has reached out to Neumünster Zoo for comment.
German zoos in crisis
Now that the Neumünster Zoo is no longer generating revenue from visitors due to the national shutdown enacted on March 15, the zoo is currently operating solely through donations, Kaspari told DPA.
“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,” Kaspari told DPA.
The association said in a letter to the country’s government that many of the 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,” VdZ President Jörg Junhold said in a statement.
The association noted that unlike other facilities, zoos can’t shut down or limit operations to cut down on losses.
Animals still have to be fed and cared for, often an expensive endeavor.
CNN’s Nadine Schmidt and Claudia Otto contributed to this report.