Zoo Animals Not Immune to Sri Lanka’s Economic Rout as Food Prices Surge

Sri Lanka’s main zoo is bracing for a food crunch for its 4,500 animals, amid runaway inflation that has pushed food prices up by nearly 60% and brought misery to Sri Lankans hit by the worst economic crisis in their country’s history.

Images have circulated widely on social media showing severely emaciated lions in cages. But the Department of National Zoological Gardens, which manages Dehiwala Zoo in Colombo, has denied that the picture came from there. Department head Thilak Premakantha said that while the zoo does have enough food for the animals for now, it’s considering measures such as releasing or giving away some of the animals to cope.

“It is a fact that our revenue has significantly decreased due to the reduced number of visitors, especially the foreign tourists, and the slashing of government funds, so we are readying to manage an upcoming crisis,” Premakantha told Mongabay.

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