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A safari park in Italy is calling for help as the country’s coronavirus lockdown has left the animals without food, drugs, and supplements.

Pombia Safari Park, in Novara, houses more than 600 animals including zebras, giraffes, lions, hippos, and elephants among others. The park’s management team has called for what it describes as ‘active support’, as the ‘abrupt interruption of activities is putting a strain on finances and related supplies’.

More than 1,800 people in Italy have died from the coronavirus – which is believed to have started at a ‘wet market’ in Wuhan, China in early December last year. Italy, the worst-hit country in Europe is now in lockdown, which has hit a number of businesses – including the safari park – hard.

‘Active support’

In a post on Instagram, the park revealed it was running out of essential supplies for the animals. It said: “We ask for active support from shopping centers, supermarkets, fruit and vegetable grocery stores, bakeries, producers or farms in being able to donate anything superfluous or no longer suitable for sale to our park. 

“[The park] is going through a very delicate moment that puts the regular operation and sustenance of the 300 species of animals currently housed within its boundaries at risk. Our animals need assistance – including tens of thousands of euros worth of foodstuffs, drugs, and supplements. The abrupt interruption of activities is putting a strain on finances and related supplies.”

‘Not so simple’

The park has asked visitors to buy tickets online now for themselves or as gifts, which will be valid for the rest of the season ‘as soon as the emergency situation has resolved’. 

The post concluded: “The balance of a Zoological Park is not so simple, even if government support should intervene, it would perhaps be too late. We will continue to carry out our work every day with awareness, professionalism and untiring passion.”

An Instagram update by the park shows people have started responding to the appeal. The park said: “First aid begins to arrive in Safaripark in support of animals. We are moved by the generosity and solidarity that you are showing us.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.