• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Chilly economic climate and weather hit zoos

The Local · 3 Apr 2013, 07:45

Published: 03 Apr 2013 07:45 GMT+02:00

A combination of cold weather and shops opening later on Saturdays is keeping visitors away from zoos in the western German state. And as if that weren't enough, companies are pulling the plug on crucial sponsorship deals too.

"The long winter has badly affected us," Ilona Schapper, deputy director of Dortmund Zoo told the Rheinische Post. "We need a lot of visitors to our zoo for our financial turnover," she said. A lack of people entering through the turnstiles is resulting in a dramatic situation, she added.

This long winter is exacerbating a situation that has been deteriorating for many years. Large companies are becoming more reluctant to pump money into the institutions.

German energy giant RWE recently cut its €5 million sponsorship of Duisburg Zoo, and Air Berlin, which used to finance the koala house, has also pulled out. The airline formerly brought over the eucalyptus leaves eaten by koalas for breakfast, lunch and dinner, from Florida free of charge.

North Rhine-Westphalia boasts several major zoos within close proximity of each other, as well as a number of smaller aquatic centres. But zoo directors are not keen to address the question of competition directly, "We all offer something different in terms of animals," Schapper said, a sentiment many of her counterparts in the surrounding zoos shared.

But one colleague said "No city, no director, no politician wants to give up their zoo. That's why everyone shies away from the topic."

Almost all zoos are in the hands of local authorities, whose own coffers are far from bulging. "The running costs alone eat you up," said Schapper, stressing that "zoos are open 365 days a year. Staff, electricity, feed: that all costs a lot."

Dwindling finances have put necessary restoration works at Duisburg Zoo on hold. Its monkey house badly needs to be restored, and the restaurant terraces at the main entrance no longer meet fire safety requirements.

Story continues below…

The animal population has halved in recent years. Adding to the zoo's woes, the dolphin pen, which had been a major attraction and unique in the region, has now closed.

"The question is no longer if, but rather, when the first zoo will close down because it can no longer be financed" one zoo director told the Rheinische Post on condition of anonymity.

The Local/kkf

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
VW to pay US suppliers $1.2 bln over Dieselgate
Volkswagen model vehicles on a dealer lot in Bedford, Massachusetts, USA. Photo: Cj Gunther/Picture Alliance/DPA

German auto giant Volkswagen has agreed to pay US suppliers $1.2 billion to settle claims emanating from the "Dieselgate" pollution scandal, the firm and suppliers said late Friday.

This Week in History
75 years since one of Holocaust's worst massacres
Photo: DPA

On Thursday, German president Joachim Gauck spoke in Kiev 75 years after the Nazis slaughtered 33,771 Jews during one of the worst single massacres of the Holocaust.

Six things you need to know about troubled Deutsche Bank

Shares in Deutsche bank plunged on Friday morning, dragging down other European banks and markets worldwide. Here are six things to know about Germany's biggest lender.

Deutsche Bahn jacks up prices for first time in 3 years
Photo: DPA

Germany's main rail provider, the state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB), announced on Friday that it will raise prices on long-distance train travel.

Baby found alive in suitcase with skeleton in Hanover
File photo: DPA.

A baby has been found alive, along with the skeleton of another infant inside of a suitcase in Hanover, police reported on Friday.

Morocco to speed up repatriation of illegal migrants
Photo: DPA

Morocco has agreed to streamline the procedures for the repatriation of citizens living illegally in Germany, the royal court said late on Thursday.

890,000 refugees arrived in Germany last year - not 1.1m
Photo: DPA

Previous reports had suggested that around 1.1 million people entered Germany to seek asylum last year. But now the German government has confirmed the number was actually lower.

Racist attacks cast cloud over Dresden Unity Day planning
A police vehicle in Dresden. Photo: DPA.

As Dresden prepares to host Germany’s national Unity Day celebrations on Monday, the capital of the eastern state of Saxony is upping security after a mosque was targeted by a homemade bomb.

Sinking Deutsche Bank stock sends shock across Europe
Photo: DPA

Shares in Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank plummeted on the Frankfurt stock market on Friday, dragging other European banks and global markets down with it, after reports some customers were pulling money out.

The Local List
10 things you never knew about German reunification
Reunification celebrations in Hanover in 2014. Photo: DPA

With German Unity Day (October 3rd) happening on Monday, Germans are looking forward to a three-day weekend. But did you know these facts about reunification and German Unity Day?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,789
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd