Hundreds of exotic animals at Naples zoo are facing starvation, as keepers declare a state of emergency with food supplies set to run out in 48 hours.
Zoo keepers at the compound in the southern Italian city, said within two days hay, fruit and all other food will be finished, leaving the 300 tigers, giraffes, elephants and other animals, high and dry.
Italy‘s dwindling economy has hit the once-famous zoo hard, leading its managers to declare bankruptcy in 2011.
Emergency administrators stepped in to care for the animals but their tenure is set to end on January 31. Now if funds for more food are not found within 48 hours, the zoo’s prize exhibits including big cats and other rare exotic animals will starve to death, keepers said.
The 70 staff will also be made redundant, if there are no new owners by Wednesday, he said.
Investment company Clear Leisure has made an offer to buy the company but the bankruptcy court have not so far approved the offer. Previous offers have failed to meet the criteria.
A union representative told the Italian news agency ANSA: ‘There are only a few days left for both us and the animals. We would like to know why it has got to this point and mostly, what is going to be done,‘
‘If no solution is found, we are going to be thrown out and the animals will die of hunger’.
Residents of the zoo include leopards, brown bears, elephants, zebras, ostriches, antelopes and tigers, as well as a petting zoo containing farm animals.
Among its scientific achievements are the first birth in captivity of the saltarupe Oreotragus oreotragus vulture. It was also the keeper of the first Italian antelope, giraffe, and first black rhinoceros in Europe.
In its heyday of the 1970s Edenlandia was considered the best in the country. It also includes a greyhound track and outdoor cinema.