Disruption to food supplies impacting zoo animals

COVID's latest victims: Grass-eaters in Japan's zoos

Nikkei -- May 16
Zoos in Japan are struggling to secure feed for grass-eating animals, reflecting worldwide supply disruptions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While zoos in Japan rely mostly on hay imports, shipping companies give low priority to animal feed due to low returns on a per-unit basis. Some zoos have moved quickly to procure other grass types as substitutes.

Although most difficulties are in the past, procurement may again become challenging due to the unpredictable situation surrounding the coronavirus and its impacts on the global economy.

From November through January, Tobe Zoological Park in Tobe, Ehime Prefecture, south of Hiroshima, was unable to obtain Bermuda grass, used as the main feed for camels and kangaroos. The situation was unprecedented in the years since the zoo opened in 1988, with animals that sleep on the grass also impacted.

The feed situation cannot be solved by taking huge advanced deliveries of hay to be put in storage as mold is a concern and space is limited. Tobe Zoological Park has used different kinds of grass to get by. But "countermeasures may become a problem because some types of grass are irreplaceable," a zoo official said. ...continue reading