Neumünster zoo director Verena Kaspari.
Tierpark Neumünster
  • The coronavirus pandemic forced Neumünster zoo in northern Germany to close on March 15.
  • The zoo relies entirely on donations and entry fees to feed its population of some 700 animals, and is now struggling financially.
  • "If I run out of money to buy food, or if it should happen that my food supplier can no longer deliver due to new restrictions, I would slaughter animals to feed the other animals," zoo director Verena Kaspari told German media on Wednesday.
  • She said this would be a "worst, worst case" scenario, adding that goats and deer would be killed first.
  • Kaspari said emergency financial assistance from the government has not arrived, and she can only survive until mid-May without help.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

A zoo in northern Germany, forced to shut because of the coronavirus pandemic, is facing so much financial pressure it may end up feeding its animals to each other in a worst-case scenario.

Neumünster zoo, in Schleswig-Holstein, has been closed since March 15. It relies entirely on donations and entry fees to feed some 700 animals, and has not received any emergency aid promised by the federal government.

"If - and this is really the worst, worst case - if I run out of money to buy food, or if it should happen that my food supplier can no longer deliver due to new restrictions, I would slaughter animals to feed the other animals," zoo director Verena Kaspari told German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) on Wednesday.

A polar bear at Neumünster zoo.
Tierpark Neumünster/YouTube
"We currently have funds that would bring us by around mid-May," she said.

As part of Kaspari's worst-case-scenario plan, goats and deer would be killed first, she told Deutsche Welle.

"We have carnivorous animals," she told DPA. "So that's nothing new."

Newborn penguins at Neumünster zoo in 2016.
Lübeck News/YouTube
On March 31, the association representing 56 major zoos in Germany, including Neumünster, called on the government to release $100 million to save the industry.

In response to Neumünster zoo's troubles, the association tweeted Wednesday: "Killing is NOT the opinion of the Association of Zoological Gardens."

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