Coronavirus brings predation in view, at a zoo near you!

Why this concern for our four-legged friends during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic?

WHILST humans have had varying degrees of success in finding sustenance over the last three weeks of 'lockdown living’, the same cannot be said for animals kept in cages in zoos the world over.

I do not recall zoo upkeep and maintenance as making it on the list of 'essential tasks' when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was announced way back in March.

I stand to be corrected but by all accounts, our zoos are diligently being staffed as there have been cries for help from the direction of Hulu Klang. Unsurprisingly. they have been soliciting for food to feed the animal residents who remain completely at the mercy and diligent benevolence of their human handlers.

Why this concern for our four-legged friends during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic?

All the way from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein came news from Neumunster Zoo that it has run out of food to feed its animals that it is seriously considering – natural predation.

Apologies if you are squeamish but this was precisely what happened in China when the rigid lockdown left zoos with no option but to open the cages and let loose predator to feed on prey. Hello neighbour, run run, chase chase, chomp chomp – neighbour no more!

Neumunster Zoo director Verena Kaspari must have been at the end of her tether when she revealed her plan to cope with – zero income just as spring was in the air.

Had the turnstiles been open, the tills would have rung 'ka-ching'. With the lockdown, all zoos are faced with zero funds to pay for food and animal upkeep and; what if the staff themselves are struck down with nasty novel flu?

With Teutonic stoicism she laid out her plan – draw up a list of the zoo’s animals indicating which ones are a little less dispensable than the other. Yes, a list has been drawn for which animals will be sacrificed, mince meat so others might live a little longer.

Ever the humane zoo keeper, she indicated the sacrificial 'lambs' will be euthanised before being fed to the 'lions'.

When it comes to Vitus – the polar bear which stands 10-foot tall on tip toes, the solution is not so forthcoming. No other zoo in Germany has an enclosure big enough for this, the biggest polar bear in all of Deutschland!

There’s just one other thing – did you know some of the zoo’s residents actually pine for the shrieks and noise from those pesky visitors?

If you were caged-in since March, so used to the inquisitive antics of Fritz and Freida and wondering where have all the human gone, you’d be cursing corona too and perhaps pleading; “come back, all is forgiven!”