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London Zoo weighs animals after lockdown blues

Thu, 27th Aug 2020 14:58

By Marc Jones

LONDON, Aug 27 (Reuters) - London Zoo began an annual
weigh-in on Thursday with keepers keen to find out what effect
the zoo's longest closure since World War Two has had on its
animals, having noticed some had suffered lockdown blues.

The nearly 200-year old zoo's finances have been savaged by
the coronavirus that shuttered it till June, but its traditional
week-long weigh-in will give staff a chance to see how its
19,000 animals have been faring.

Assistant Curator of Mammals, Teague Stubbington, said
logging of sizes and weights, and in some cases pregnancies, was
always important to the zoo for tracking species' health, but
this time around it comes after a tricky period for some.

"The Pygmy goats were so used to seeing children during the
day that (during lockdown) they would miss them," Stubbington
told Reuters.

"They were actually lining up at the gate to meet people and
then at 10 o'clock (when no one was there) they were
disappointed," he added, saying that zoo staff would then try to
cheer them up by going to see them during breaks.

Now open to limited numbers only, ZSL, the international
conservation charity behind the zoo, is calling on the public to
help it stay open by booking a ticket, joining as a member or
make donations.

"The loss of our visitors and the loss of income has made
things really difficult," Stubbington said. "It has been the
longest period of closure that we've had since World War Two."
(Reporting by Marc Jones and Will Russell; editing by Stephen
Addison)

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