Nordhorn / Pr.
Ströhen (dpa / lni) - No visitors, nowhere: The 30 or so zoos and animal parks in Lower Saxony are currently overwintering without paying guests, but hope to be able to start again with the Easter business.
"In my planning I assume that we will remain closed until March," says the manager of the Osnabrück Zoo, Andreas Busemann.
The costs continue to run for the zoos: The animals still have to be looked after, and energy costs are high in winter, said Busemann.
In this respect, the current closure hurts his zoo.
The economic background of the animal parks, zoos and game reserves is very different, explains Nils Kramer.
He runs the Nordhorn Zoo.
As the organizer of the 1st Lower Saxony Zoo Day at the end of last year, he is also in contact with his colleagues in the rest of the country.
"We have clubs, private companies or - as in our case in Nordhorn - a non-profit GmbH."
For the first lockdown last spring, which brought the zoos to important business on Easter and Ascension Day, the country presented a coordinated aid program.
“That worked out very well and very fairly,” says Kramer.
From this first lockdown, the zoos got away with a black eye.
But the current closure in winter is longer than in spring, which is a great challenge.
Whether the zoos could also benefit from the federal government's November and December aid varies from one animal park to another.
If the closure continues beyond Easter, it could be difficult for some facilities.
Municipal shareholders are behind the Nordhorn Zoo, and this also applies to Hanover Zoo and Bremerhaven Zoo.
Nils Ismer, on the other hand, runs the Ströhen zoo in Preußisch Ströhen in Wagenfeld (Diepholz district), a family business with 30 employees.
His family also has a farm and an Arabian stud.
His company is broadly based, which helps through the difficult situation.
Otherwise, however, he draws on the reserves that he has built up.
He too is hoping for an opening at Easter.
"If it took longer, we'd have a problem."
At least the animal parks and zoos feel a great solidarity of the regional population.
The willingness to donate is great in many places, sponsorships are very popular.
In Nordhorn, the number of animal sponsorships has more than tripled, and the number of members in the friends' association has risen by 100 - "that is insane support," says Kramer.
The zoo by the sea in Bremerhaven has also increased sponsorships by 200 percent, says zoo director Heike Kück.
The zoos are currently trying to expand their online marketing and already sell admission and annual tickets, even if the guests cannot come yet.
But in the end it is important that the zoos can reopen at Easter, emphasize the zoo bosses.
Even then, the tills would only fill up slowly, because when a new store is opened, the number of visitors should be reduced due to the hygiene and distance rules.
"We assume that we can open at Easter - but with the handbrake on," says Kück.
State site zoos and animal parks in Lower Saxony
Zoo by the sea