Lean occasions throughout lockdown in cash-strapped Ukrainian zoo

Because the begin of the coronavirus outbreak in Ukraine, animals in Mykhailo Pinchuk’s cash-strapped zoo have needed to make do with leaner diets and fewer meals.

Excessive-quality beef has been partially changed by different meats and broccoli swapped for cheaper cabbage.

Monkeys, lions, and tigers have been affected by the adjustments, and one of many leopards has visibly misplaced weight, zookeepers say. “We are ashamed, and they are sad,” Pinchuk, head of Ukraine’s largest personal zoo, advised AFP.

A steep income decline because of the nationwide shutdown to regulate the virus has hit them exhausting.

Arrange in 2015, the zoo is positioned on the outskirts of the village of Demydiv, some 40 kilometres north of Kyiv and is dwelling to round 450 animals together with leopards, bears, and giraffes.

Closed for almost two months, the zoo is now not incomes income from guests and has just lately issued an pressing enchantment to the general public for donations.

They’ve already raised roughly 6,920 euros however the zoo wants extra to outlive.

Pinchuk, who additionally has an actual property enterprise, stated he had sought to chop prices as a lot as attainable, shedding non-essential personnel and simplifying the animals’ specialised diets.

Now their new diets have affected their temper, he and his zookeepers stated.

“They are like people, they like variety,” stated Maksym Kovalev, who has labored within the zoo for almost two years. “It’s like switching to porridge after eating restaurant food.”

Carnivorous animals like lions and a jaguar have needed to get used to lowered rations of high-quality meat, stated one other zookeeper, Igor Dzharayan.

However he and others insisted that the animals aren’t ravenous and their whole calorie consumption stays the identical.

Pinchuk stated the animals typically skip a number of meals earlier than they get used to new meals.

“At first they just don’t understand what has been brought to them and don’t eat it. They look at it in surprise,” stated 47-year-old Pinchuk.

Monkeys, whose diets are costly, have additionally been considerably affected, he stated.

Joseph the orangutan loves persimmons and tangerines and his temper can flip bitter if he doesn’t get his most popular fruit, Pinchuk stated.

“We have to give him that, it’s his favourite stuff.”

Apart from animal feed, there are different repairs prices, stated Pinchuk, including it was additionally vital to maintain cages heat.

At first, the employees tried to keep away from contact with monkeys, fearing they may get contaminated with coronavirus, however that proved too troublesome.

“The way they looked at us when we did not visit them. It was simply impossible to bear,” Pinchuk stated, recalling how his two orangutans cried and clung to the door.

Monkeys have missed guests too, their keepers stated.

Yearly a number of hundred thousand individuals go to the zoo, which spans 18 hectares and includes a restaurant constructed within the type of a fortress.

It’s notably busy in spring, with the car parking zone filled with vehicles and playgrounds filled with kids.

From Monday, Ukraine is ready to start lifting lockdown measures, and Pinchuk hopes to be allowed to re-open as an open-air park.

Extreme restrictions shall be launched to maintain animals protected.

Pinchuk stated he deliberate to place up posters asking company to not give monkeys any meals.

However conserving them indoors was additionally not an choice, he stated.

“There is no choice. We cannot close the zoo and watch them waste away from other diseases, a lack of sunlight, or a bad mood.”

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