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COVID-19 effects on zoos and animal conservation

Discussion in 'General Zoo Discussion' started by DelacoursLangur, 6 Mar 2020.

  1. Junklekitteb

    Junklekitteb Well-Known Member

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    With so much distancing and avoidance of public places, I assume all Indian zoos will soon close. Being government funded they probably do not have to worry about finances, from what I can guess.
     
  2. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

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    You are not wrong here - feeding animals is expensive. Also zoos will still have to pay at least their essential staff. With little or not revenue they'll be in trouble very quickly.

    With nearly all zoos in Europe now closed for weeks and probably for months at this point, I am starting to really fear for the future of zoos on the old continent.

    Surviving this lengthy closure is one thing, but some people are already suggesting that tourism should not be allowed to happen this summer as not to have a second peak of the coronavirus occur. Also with the economic damage many people likely will not have a budget for tourism.

    I very much doubt that governments keeping zoos afloat will be well received by a large percentage of society, especially at a time when so many businesses are suffering massively, and considering zoos are a pretty small economic sector. I do not believe many people outside of our community or within the governmental bodies would see zoos and wildlife conservation as vital sectors that need to be kept afloat in this pandemic tide.

    I see very little, if any, reason for optimism with regards to the progression of this coronavirus and its economic effects, and I see very little hope for zoos surviving this crisis.

    At this point I think there is a very serious chance this crisis will mean the end for many or even most zoos in Europe, with the question of what will happen to the animals remaining. I think there is a very serious chance that my January visit to Planckendael will have been my final zoo visit ever. I am more pessimistic than ever about the future of zoos at this point.
     
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  3. Mr. Zootycoon

    Mr. Zootycoon Well-Known Member

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    I think you're a bit overly dramatic here. Zoos will have a tough time, but they likely have some savings and they can significantly decrease their daily operating budget if no visitors are allowed.

    The Dutch government has set up a series of measures to help businesses cope with the situation, and there's no reason why zoos cannot use these. Furthermore, many large zoos are iconic institutions: I doubt Arnhem, Rotterdam or Amsterdam would let treasures like Burgers', Blijdorp or Artis fall by the wayside without a fight. Maybe a few of the large list of mostly mediocre tiny Dutch zoos will close, but I think (almost) all the mid-sized or major Dutch zoos will be able to tough it out. I have too little knowledge to be able to say anything about other countries.

    As soon as restaurants and bars reopen for the local, regional or national markets, there's no reason for zoos to stay closed.
     
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  4. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

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    An article offering the perspective of a zoo owner on the difficulties facing zoos during the coronavirus pandemic, namely financial difficulties and trouble getting food for the animals due to panic-buying as well as the dreadful consideration of euthanasia if they cannot find a solution. His message echoes several of my own fears and worries.

    Zoos may not survive the coronavirus pandemic, owner warns
     
  5. amur leopard

    amur leopard Well-Known Member

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    Beauval has now closed due to Coronavirus.
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't read that article, but as to "trouble getting food for the animals due to panic-buying" - most zoos don't buy their animal food supplies in supermarkets...
     
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  7. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    Most don't but the smaller ones definitely could buy (at least part) their food in supermarkets.

    The direct quote from the article sounds like this:

    “If many of us have to close we will, without financial support, have to consider euthanasia of some, if not all, of our stock as food resources become simply unaffordable,” he said.

    “This is something that we will hate doing, and that many of us will never get over. This is why we are appealing.”


    I might be a bit harsh but this is straight-up blackmail isn't' it?
     
  8. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    I think it's a bit ridiculous to call this blackmail.
     
  9. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    If any zoo is buying their animal food at retail prices in a supermarket instead of through a proper supplier then one has to question their business model.
     
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  10. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    That is why I said "I might be a bit harsh" :D

    It certainly is a very strong statement that is aimed to hit people emotionally.
     
  11. birdsandbats

    birdsandbats Well-Known Member

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    Then I guess mainstream news is blackmail.
     
  12. AmbikaFan

    AmbikaFan Well-Known Member

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    I certainly hope this owner is being "merely" melodramatic. If facing a zoo closure, my first or fiftieth thought would not be to euthanize all the animals, and I'm shocked that a zoo owner"s would be. Surely, if closure is necessary, there are larger zoos who would have the resources, space, and desire for animals, especially endangered animals. I hope he's "merely" being disingenuous by failing to mention this option. Yes, we'd like all zoos to survive, but zoo survival is much like species survival, Darwin's survival of the fittest. In difficult times, like our Great Depression, it is larger and more stable organizations that survive. It would be unfortunate for small zoos to fold, but I am appalled that this man could even use the word "euthanasia" no matter how grave the circumstances. I would never go to this zoo now. I hope some larger zoos offer him a few nickels on the dollar for his animals and they go to places where this would never be considered or mentioned.
     
    Last edited: 21 Mar 2020
  13. TZDugong

    TZDugong Well-Known Member

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    This is a very strange article.

    Especially strange is the end of the article, where the zoo owner claims that if species like Ring-Tailed Lemurs were to be euthanized (which there is no need to do) then the species will go extinct (extremely unlikely) and that somehow it's worse that the hundreds of species hunted to extinction in the last 100 years.:confused:
     
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  14. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    "Support us, or otherwise we'll go bankrupt and we will have to euthanise animals." is not mainstream in any possible way... From top of my head this is certainly in top 10 worst things, any zoo director/owner said to media.

    I completely understand that he is nervous about the future, we all are. But in the position he is, rational thinking is a must...
     
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  15. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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    And most zoos that buy food from a supermarket probably have a deal made in which they take produce that is a few days last the sell-by date. While the stores are not allowed to sell them for human consumption, most animals don't care that their produce is a few days past the sell-by date.
     
  16. Neil chace

    Neil chace Well-Known Member

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  17. KevinB

    KevinB Well-Known Member

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    [Quote from the other Covid-19 topic, but the discussion is relevant here instead of there.]

    I think Easter would be very early for any limitations to be lifted, but maybe the situation is different in the Czech Republic than it is here in Belgium.

    Here in Belgium experts like virologists and epidemiologists as well as the federal minister of public health have stated several times in the media that they expect this first wave of the coronavirus epidemic to last 8 to 10 weeks and that the lock-down measures will not be able to lifted quickly or easily, which would put us easily in May or June before things could go back to normal again. Basically there is absolutely no chance that the lock-down measures will be lifted for many more weeks to come, and I don't think zoos will be able to re-open for months at this point.

    The experts are also warning that this virus, even if we suppress the current outbreak, will likely still be circulating somewhere in the world and might well come back for a second wave later this year or next year. They expect this virus to not just go away, but to continue plaguing humanity for a year or more and to return for future epidemic waves, possibly until a vaccin is developed and widely applied creating widespread immunity. As we've seen with past epidemics subsequent waves can be even worse than the first and mutation of the virus could occur resulting in a change in its effects on human health, so I would say there is plenty of reason for grave concern with this virus, even if this outbreak can be beaten down. And it will probably take months before we achieve even that, and once that is achieved continued prudence and vigilance will be fundamental.

    These experts have also said that tourism and large events are likely to be affected or even continue to be very limited or even banned this summer - and I think that means more very bad news for zoos and other attraction parks, as it suggests their closure will likely last for many more months and might encompass much if not all of their high season. Without major relief funding from the government or the public I don't know how they could ever survive that.

    I really want to find some reason to be optimistic, but at the moment I still feel mostly hopelessness when considering their future, and I think things look very, very bleak for zoos in this pandemic gloom.

    PS: I did read today that some places in China have begun to reopen after months, but I assume those are likely government-funded or subsidized as I don't know how they would have lasted otherwise.
     
  18. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    Of course there are some truly awful unaccredited zoos around, even here in USA. See Snowleopard's Wisconsin road trip for examples. It might be a positive outcome if these places were forced to close and only the good zoos survive.
     
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  19. HOMIN96

    HOMIN96 Well-Known Member

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    That was very early and rough estimate, with the situation changing every day, we now know, that Easter is essentially the best case possible only when everything goes unbelievably well. Just few hours ago, we had our first death confirmed (Although, it was 95yo guy, with other health issues, COVID just "finished" him) so the journey is still very long.
     
  20. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    A world without people is an interesting topic (for another thread maybe. However) nuclear reactors wouldn't suddenly explode like nuclear bombs if left unattended. In a pandemic situation on a scale where the majority of people would die, firstly there would be time and the inclination to shut them all down. If this wasn't possible (say everyone died immediately within the first week) there would definitely be meltdowns but the reactors wouldn't go up in giant mushroom clouds, and the effects would be relatively local.
     
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