Chinese park pleads for live chickens to prevent tigers from starving during lockdown

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Consumers and investors fear that China’s return to sweeping Covid-19 lockdowns will affect production of Apple’s iPhones and Elon Musk’s Teslas. But in a corner of southwest China, desperation has arisen over a very different issue: how to feed endangered tigers.

The Guizhou Wildlife Park this week issued an urgent appeal for live chickens and fish, as well as steamed buns and frozen crabs, fearing the animals could starve as lockdowns suffocate the shackles. ‘supply. The park is home to endangered Siberian, White Bengal and South China tigers, as well as pandas, crocodiles and zebras.

“Nearly 70% of the animals kept in the park are protected species, but at present the park’s food stocks are far from sufficient,” the park owner said in a letter sent to authorities. local.

Difficulty feeding animals is the latest sign of the challenges posed by the strict enforcement of President Xi Jinping’s zero-Covid policy.

It also comes ahead of a critical meeting of the Chinese Communist Party in which Xi is expected to secure an unprecedented third term in power.

About 50 Chinese cities that are home to around 290 million people, more than a fifth of the population, are under partial or full lockdowns or restrictions, according to Nomura. That number could rise in the coming days as health officials ramp up testing over a holiday.

In Guizhou province, several cities are under pandemic restrictions, affecting a combined population of nearly 10 million.

The wildlife park, located 50 km north of Guiyang, said its plea for help – which also included a request for stocks of sweet potatoes, peppers and frozen prawn tails – was quickly addressed by authorities. local. Within 24 hours, several e-commerce groups including Alibaba’s Hema Fresh, JD.com and Walmart had offered future deliveries.

The park said it must save at least 10 days of live food for some animals because it was unclear how long the closures would last.

The shortages reflected worsening food safety concerns and supply chain disruptions across China as Covid restrictions were extended. Panic buying, including in the megacity of Chengdu, which was locked down last week, was a stark reminder of the chaos that gripped Shanghai, China’s largest and wealthiest city, in April.

“Over the past week, the overall Covid situation has deteriorated significantly in China,” said Ting Lu, Nomura’s chief China economist.

“What is becoming increasingly concerning is that Covid hotspots continue to move away from several remote regions and cities – with seemingly less economic importance to the country – towards provinces that matter much more to China’s national economy,” he added.

In Guiyang’s Yunyan district, authorities have warned residents after a pack of macaques began roaming the city streets in search of food, following the temporary closure of nearby monkey parks this week.

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