It’s feeding time at Greece’s solely zoo and a capuchin monkey grabs as many mandarins as it may – even tucking one into his lengthy, supple tail. It may be clever to replenish.
After being closed for nearly three months due to COVID-19, the zoo on the fringes of Athens might be on the highway to extinction: With no paying guests or – in contrast to different European zoos – sufficient authorities assist to cowl its very explicit wants, the Attica Zoological Park faces enormous payments to maintain 2,000 animals well-fed and wholesome.
“As issues are … we nonetheless can go on for at the very least one month,” zoo founder and CEO Jean Jacques Lesueur mentioned. “After that, we don’t know.”
In contrast to some companies pressured to briefly shut amid virus-control restrictions, the zoo continues to have sizeable working bills. Between meals, salaries, utilities, medical care and different bills, the price of caring for the animals at the moment exceeds 200,000 euros ($243,000) per thirty days.
“That’s the distinction between us and different firms: Once they shut they shut. We shut, however we don’t shut,” Lesueur informed The Related Press.
Based in 2000 and positioned within the city of Spata, the zoo occupies 20 hectares (50 acres) and is residence to 290 species, from elephants to prairie canines. It’s concerned in training, conservation and breeding, and belongs to the European Affiliation of Zoos and Aquaria, which has about 400 members.
Guests account for greater than 99 p.c of its income, which contains ticket, meals and beverage, and reward store gross sales. So each month’s income counts, and the lack of December, normally busy due to the Christmas holidays, was notably heavy.
To date, suppliers have proven understanding and are accepting credit score. Two-thirds of the zoo’s workers is on state-supported furlough, and an anticipated instalment of state assist will deal with this month’s pay for the remaining, mentioned Lesueur.
The zoo additionally has bought 5,000 advance tickets at diminished costs for when the lockdown ends, and Lesueur mentioned that helped pay December’s salaries.