The French zoo, which would house the three lions from Artis from mid-February, will renounce it.
The management of the French zoo informed the Amsterdam park on Wednesday evening, says ARTIS-director Rembrandt Sutorius. He says hes “bewildered “at the French decision.
“ They say they cant take over the lions because the residence is not available. We believe that we have conducted a careful process over the last six months to get our three lions placed there. This news comes to us like a thunderbolt from the clear sky. We were mugged by it. It changes the situation of Artis drastically.”
Last week, Artis announced to let the lions go because there is no money to build a new and larger lions house. This involves an amount of more than EUR 4 million. Due to the coronacrisis, the Amsterdam zoo has fallen into losses. It had a deficit of EUR 10 million last year. The number of visitors was halved in 2020 and over the next five years the zoo will be short of over 20 million euros for maintenance and investment.
Artis started in the summer with a quest to house the lions elsewhere. We contacted this French zoo,” says Sutorius. “But we were not told there was another lioness. You cant just put that lioness in the group from Artis.” The stay in France is about three times as big as where they now live in Artis.
The French have made their sincere apologies. What exactly was told to Artis? “We have been told that the stay would be available to the group of Artis-Lions. For us it was important that we could establish our group separately, without other lions. You cant just introduce lions to each other,” says the director. He does not want to anticipate what will happen next to the Artis Lions.
Pierre Caillé, director of La Palmyre Zoo, calls the course of events unhappy. , “We thought we could place our lioness elsewhere, but that didnt happen”, he says to De Cceit. , She cannot live with the group of lions from Artis, so we cannot receive them. We thought: in Amsterdam, they have the resources and the competence to keep them there for a while.”
The Frenchman says to be somewhat surprised at the violent reaction from the Netherlands. ,, It happens more often that such a transfer does not pass. We were going to put a group of capuchin monkeys in another zoo, we recently heard that this is being postponed for a year. There are more zoos in trouble, because the pandemic makes them less revenue. We didnt know that it was such a big event for the employees and visitors of Artis, which they had fully set themselves up. I am sure these lions can go elsewhere in Europe.
Judging by the reactions, the audience is happy to stay for a while…” Sutorius
has had a dynamic week. The Amsterdam park has started a fundraising. The zoo gets a lot of support. There are even children in the country who go past the doors. “Our first interest is to keep Artis upright,” says Sutorius.
Since the fundraiser was launched last Thursday, the zoo has raised approximately 650,000 euros. Sutorius: “That is not enough to cover our deficits, but it is a wonderful sum. Anyway, thats not what were talking about right now. We are now working on how to give the lions a future. We were committed to implementing the agreements we had made with the French.”
Sjaak Swart in turn is very happy that the lions are preserved for Artis for the time being. The Ajax icon also started a fundraising campaign for the zoo last week. The unexpected message that the move to France is not going on came to him as a positive surprise. ,, Fortunately, when Artis opens again after the lockdown, people can enjoy these beautiful animals, which are a symbol of the zoo. I also hope that the old lions house with the famous terrace can be refurbished or even completely renewed. Thats really no longer of this time.”