Zurich zoo forced into winter closure over virus pandemic

The Zoo Zurich's king penguins feel right at home with snowy landscapes and arctic temperatures, but they do miss one thing this winter: visitors.

COVID-19 measures forced the zoo to close for a second time last December. 

It lost 12 million Swiss francs ($13.5 million) when it closed from March to June 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19 in Switzerland. 

Now it stands to lose 7 million Swiss francs ($7.86 million) this winter, while having to maintain upkeep costs of 105,000 Swiss francs ($117,925) per day. 

Zoo Zurich CEO, Severin Dressen, said the absence of visitors felt "surreal" and contradictory to their mission about educating people about wildlife and conservation. 

While most animals are comfortable in their enclosures, which are meant to approximate conditions in the wild, some animals like penguins and gorillas have become used to interacting with people. 

"You can actually see these days when you go to their enclosure, that they react quite a lot, you know, they are almost happy to see some people again," Dressen said.

The zoo, which houses more than 38 animal species, will remain closed until the end of February, at the earliest.

(Source: Reuters) 

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