Pulished on businesslive.co.za the 14.10.2020. | By: Amandas Ong
The measures adopted as part of mitigation strategies against the coronavirus are causing enormous losses for zoos and aquariums, which now have to cut back in conservation, as well as many other sectors.
Note: These lockdown measures don’t come free of charge, yet despite the imposition of such extensive measures against this virus (the infection fatality rate (IFR) lies at 0,27% according to the WHO), there have not been any significant political efforts to adequately compensate zoos and aquariums for the losses caused by the measures. Just like many other cultural institutions, the zoological facilities are left to bear these immense costs themselves. This and the fact that there is no end in sight to the measures, is why there have to be certain cutbacks and savings need to be made. A sustainable and long-term money management is necessary – the responsibility towards the animals and employees requires it. Cutbacks are no easy choice, but they have to be made in order to support species conservation in the long-term and even more than before. It is preferable to temporarily have less money for conservation, than to never have it again.
In the interest of endangered species, we must hope that there will soon be a return to normality. Conservation has to be financed, and this is not possible under constant losses – this applies to zoos as well as donors, i.e. society as a whole. Partial openings, without the government paying sufficiently for the damages, are nice for visitors, but they don’t help endangered species. They only destroy the future of the animals and the livelihoods of conservationists, caretakers, veterinarians, biologists and other experts, who have devoted their lives to save species.