London: Keeper Martin Franklin weighs and counts humboldt penguins during the annual weigh-in at ZSL London Zoo, London, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020.(AP)
London: Keeper Martin Franklin weighs and counts humboldt penguins during the annual weigh-in at ZSL London Zoo, London, Thursday Aug. 27, 2020.(AP)

Covid-19 pandemic: London Zoo weighs animals after 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.
London | By Reuters | Posted by Saumya Sharma
UPDATED ON AUG 29, 2020 08:11 AM IST

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.

Zoo keeper Tony Cholerton uses an electronic identification chip reader on a squirrel monkey as it stands on weighing scales at the ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Zoo keeper Tony Cholerton uses an electronic identification chip reader on a squirrel monkey as it stands on weighing scales at the ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

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.

Zoo keeper Mick Tiley records the weight of a Bactrian camel standing on the scales at ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Zoo keeper Mick Tiley records the weight of a Bactrian camel standing on the scales at ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

“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.

Two adult otters with their pair of two-month-old otter pups move towards weighing scales at ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)
Two adult otters with their pair of two-month-old otter pups move towards weighing scales at ZSL London Zoo 2020 weigh-in and measurement, in London, Britain, August 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Toby Melville)

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.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

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