A Greek zoo is facing permanent closure after three months of coronavirus-related lockdown.
Officials at the Attica Zoological Park said they are grappling with huge bills to keep their 2,000 animals fed after they were forced to close to paying customers as the country went into a second lockdown in November, the Associated Press reported Saturday.
“As things are … we still can go on for at least one month,” zoo founder and CEO Jean Jacques Lesueur said. “After that, we don’t know.”
The cost of caring for the animals and maintaining the grounds is more than $200,000 per month, he said.
The 50-acre zoo opened in the town of Spata, about 15 miles east of Athens, in 2000, and is home to 290 species, including elephants, hyacinth macaws and giraffes. It is also involved in education and conservation initiatives, according to Lesueur.
After a two-month lockdown last spring, government regulations forced the zoo’s temporary closure in November, a time when it usually sees the bulk of its visitors, which account for nearly all of the zoo’s revenue.
Two-thirds of the zoo’s staff is on a state-supported furlough and suppliers are still accepting credit for food for the animals, said Lesueur.
“If we are closed for another another two months or three months, I really don’t know what is going to happen,” he said.