Local residents and businesses have come to the aid of a zoo which said it might have to euthanise animals after panic buying disrupted its supply feed.
The Tropiquaria Zoo in Somerset, UK, made and urgent appeal for members of the public to donate spare fruit and vegetables to local zoos, with empty shelves and purchase restriction policies meaning supplies were being severely limited.
"Without financial support, we will have to consider euthanasia of some, if not all, of our stock as food resources become simply unaffordable," said Chris Moiser, who runs the zoo , speaking to the BBC
Following the appeal, Moiser said he was "totally amazed" at the number of donations, which ranged anywhere from "a single lettuce to 4,000 burger buns".
"Before the lockdown we had people buying grapes, apples and bananas and giving it to us at the gates," he said.
"Someone even stopped me in the street and gave me a lettuce, it is very touching."
The zoo is still seeking any spare fruit, vegetables or unneeded pet food, and has also set up a GoFundMe
to alleviate financial difficulties during the closure.
"The number of donations is amazing, and what we didn't expect is the number of cafés, hotels and schools who closed, at very short notice, who then contributed their leftover spoilable food to us, and delivered it," said the zoo in a blog post.
"The bigger picture for the post-COVID-19 world, is a one not just of the survival of a few zoos, but an integrated extinction prevention/re-introduction programme where local critically endangered animals may have become extinct or so reduced in numbers, that they may shortly become so."