Chinese netizens concerned over panda twins' fate at Berlin Zoo

By Chen Xi Published: 2020/4/17 2:51:41

Video: Courtesy of Berlin Zoo

Chinese netizens expressed their concerns over the condition of the panda twins at the Berlin Zoo in Germany after it was reported that due to lack of funding, some zoos might have to kill their animals during the COVID-19 pandemic, which went viral on Chinese social media on Thursday.

The ides received widespread condemnation online after the Neumünster Zoo's director said they had made a list of animals they would kill due to COVID-19 in an interview with Die Welt, German national daily newspaper on Tuesday.

"Slaughtering animals? I could not believe Germany, as a developed country, would choose such a cruel way in treating the adorable and innocent animals! I am worried about the panda twins at the Berlin Zoo. If they cannot take care of them, we need to ask them to send the pandas back," one Chinese netizen commented on Weibo.

According to an email from Berlin Zoo employee Astrid Bartel sent to the Global Times on Thursday, "the crisis will not change anything," and the animals' extensive care and maintenance are ensured. 

Bartel said that seals, baboons and pandas would normally have a lot of visitors, especially in great weather. But the keepers know how to keep their animals busy in other ways during the non-visited season. 

For example, the monkeys have tricky automatic feeders from which they can "fry" peanuts, the seals continue to get their beloved fish in their daily training, and the pandas are busy playing with toys.

"The well-being of visitors, employees, and animals is the highest priority for Zoologische Gärten Berlin," read the email.

Bartel added that the zoo had implemented strict measures during the COVID-19 pandemic, including minimizing human-animal contact and dividing the staff into two groups to reduce person-to-person contact.

"Animal keepers and veterinarians live at the zoo and animal park to ensure the animals are supplied with food at all times," Bartel noted.

Chinese netizens shared their ideas, including asking the government and organizations for support to protect the animals or releasing them back to the wild, or even learn from Chinese zoos which use livestreaming to gain netizen support. 

"Livestreaming at a certain time and set up reward subscriptions can not only help them gain some material aid but also could help them create an animal star IP. People are now stuck at home. They would love to watch the animals online," one Chinese netizen suggested on Weibo.

"It is a favorable idea for them to launch some online adoption activities, which have been used by Chinese zoos during the pandemic, said another Chinese netizen suggested on Weibo.


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