Reading Time: < 1 minute

The coronavirus lockdown could result in zoos slaughtering animals as they run out of money, a wildlife expert has warned.

Sam Threadgill, head of the Freedom for Animals charity, has described the situation as ‘deeply worrying’ – and says it illustrates why animals should not be kept in captivity in zoos.

His warning following an announcement from Neumünster Zoo in Germany, which revealed it may end up feeding animals to each other, as the coronavirus lockdown results in cash flow issues.

Feed animals to each other

Neumünster Zoo’s director Verena Kaspari pleaded for financial help from the government, as she revealed the zoo had created a list of animals it may have to cull, some of whom could be fed to others.

Describing the measures as ‘unpleasant’, she told German outlet Die Welt: “We’ve listed the animals we’ll have to slaughter first.”

She added: “If it comes to it, I’ll have to euthanize animals, rather than let them starve.”

‘Stark realization’

Now Threadgill has told media outlets that the ‘current crisis is bringing the reason why we should not be keeping wild animals captive into stark realization’.

He said: “As we know, that zoos are not strangers to culling their healthy animals in times of plenty, it is deeply worrying that this crisis may well lead to further deaths as zoos financially struggle in this crisis.”

He added that the facilities have ‘brought this dire situation upon their animals, by keeping these animals entirely unnecessarily’, and condemned zoos for culling thousands of animals every year for being surplus or having the wrong genes. He concluded: “As well as this the zoo environment can never fulfill all the needs of these wild animals, and this crisis brings further concerns for the suffering that captive animals are forced to endure.”