Germany: German Association of Zoological Gardens Calls for Financial Aid Programme
The Berlin-based Association of Zoological Gardens (G.: “Verband der Zoologischen Gärten e.V.“, VdZ) is urgently requesting a financial aid programme of 100 million Euros from the German government. In a letter sent yesterday to Chancellor Angela Merkel and other high-level German politicians, the President of the zoo association and Director of Zoo Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Jörg Junhold, draws attention to the economic threat to animal parks.
“Unlike other institutions, we cannot simply shut down our operations – our animals need to be fed and cared for. At the moment, however, we are working without a regular income but at the same high level of expenditure,” says Junhold, commenting on the current crisis situation in which the zoos have to remain closed to visitors due to the Corona pandemic. The situation for animal parks is serious – a single large zoo facility has to cope with a weekly loss of half a million Euros in sales, according to the VdZ.
More than 180,000 vertebrates are cared for and bred at the VdZ member zoos. Many of them belong to endangered species and are part of international conservation breeding programs. “A possible loss of this valuable animal population would be a bitter setback for our efforts to preserve biodiversity and would thus be tantamount to a catastrophe,” continues Junhold.
Every year, the 56 VdZ member zoos in Germany are visited by a total of 35 million people. (eap)