A German zoo may have to resort to slaughtering some of its animals to feed others in the trying times of steep revenue decline due to lack of visitors, on top of a blocked supply chain amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Neumünster Zoo in northern Germany, home to over 700 animals and more than 100 species, is mulling over the drastic measure given the fact that they are now solely operating on donations. The zoo will likely euthanize many animals but is yet to decide in what order.

"If -- and this is really the worst, worst case of all -- if I no longer have any money to buy feed, or if it should happen that my feed supplier is no longer able to supply due to new restrictions, then I would slaughter animals to feed other animals," zoo director Verena Kaspari told German news agency Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA), noting that euthanasia was a far better option than watching them starve.

A rescue package worth of €750 billion ($825 billion) was rolled out by the German government to cover for the economic losses incurred during the widespread lockdown imposed on March 15, but it was unclear whether zoos were eligible for the funding.

"We're an association and don't get any city money, and all the state money we've applied for so far hasn't arrived yet," Kaspari said.

The Association of Zoological Gardens (VdZ), a Berlin-based zoo association representing at least 56 zoos in Germany, including Neumünster Zoo, has pleaded with Chancellor Angela Merkel to rush at least €100 million in emergency aid.

The association said the emergency funding was a dire necessity, more so because many animals in its member zoos are endangered species, as well as a part of international conservation breeding programs.

"A possible loss of this valuable animal population would be a bitter setback for our struggle to conserve biodiversity and would therefore amount to a catastrophe," CNN reported VdZ President Jörg Junhold as saying.

The association noted that zoos can ill-afford to shut down or limit operations abruptly bearing in mind that animals will still have to be fed or cared for.

Gorilla (Colo) 1957 445 - Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Colo the Gorilla in 1957 at the Columbus Zoo. Photo Courtesy of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium