Somerset

Coronavirus: Zoo 'overwhelmed' with animal food donations

Red-fronted lemur Image copyright Tropiquaria Zoo
Image caption Tropiquaria Zoo's red-fronted lemur trying water melon for the first time

A zoo owner says he has been "touched and overwhelmed" by the large volume of food donated to feed his animals.

Chris Moiser, who runs Tropiquaria Zoo in Somerset, appealed last week for donations of fruit and vegetables.

He said his animals were being put at risk because panic buying and supermarket limits had made it difficult to feed them.

Mr Moiser said: "The number of donations is amazing, everything from a single lettuce to 4,000 burger buns."

The zoo owner warned last week many zoos would have to close and "consider euthanasia of some, if not all" of their animals if food became unaffordable.

But following an appeal, he said he had been "totally amazed" by the amount of food turning up at the zoo entrance.

"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."

Tacos and nachos

He said the zoo's animals had been discovering "new foods" from the "leftover spoilable food" donated by closed cafes and restaurants.

"We've had 4,000 burger buns, loads of different vegetables and fruit as well as ciabatta, panini and taco shells," he said.

"The racoons are trying out Mexican food - tacos and nachos - for the first time and they love hot cross buns.

"The lemurs like pomegranates and blueberries - we're getting some very strange-coloured droppings."

He said the zoo still needed people to donate any spare fruit and vegetables or unneeded pet food.

"A 'fairy godfather' friend has approached a supermarket chain and is arranging for us to receive a weekly delivery of 20 or so key items," he said.

"This will alleviate a lot of worry."

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