German zoo says it may 'slaughter animals to feed other animals' during pandemic
© Tierpark Neumünster e.V | Facebook

A zoo in northern Germany warned that it may need to slaughter some animals to feed others if it cannot get food supplies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Verena Kaspari, director of the Tierpark Neumünster, told German outlet Deutsche Welle that it was drawing up a slaughter list of animals as part of its emergency planning.

"It's a worst-case scenario, we don't see it getting that way yet, but we have to think of it early enough,” Kaspari said, stressing that the option would only be used if zookeepers cannot get access to fish and meat due to a lack of funds.

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The animals on the list, including goats and deer, would be fed to the zoo's lynx, eagles and "Germany's biggest polar bear," Vitus, which stands at nearly 12 feet tall.

None of the endangered animals would be at risk of euthanasia.

The small zoo, located in Schleswig-Holstein, about an hour north of Hamburg, has been closed since March 15 when German officials began implementing measures to stem the spread of coronavirus.

Zookeepers are continuing to come in to feed and take care of the animals; however, the park is not earning revenue from visitors while closed to the public.

"We have zero income and the same costs," Kaspari said. 

Kaspari also told the newspaper that the facility will have lost an estimated 175,000 euros ($191,000) in ticket sales and donations if it is allowed to reopen by the end of April.

Neumünster is a charity and therefore is not eligible for funding from the city government, she explained to the news outlet.

VdZ, the umbrella organization for Germany’s zoos, is calling on the government to support the facilities, Deutsche Welle noted.

The upper house of the country’s Bundestag has approved a 750 billion euro ($814 billion) aid package to stimulate the economy during the pandemic.

In the meantime, officials in Neumünster have taken to soliciting donations in social media posts.