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Environment Correspondent Louise Batchelor reports
"The foot-and-mouth threat is not confined to the countryside"
 real 56k

Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 17:04 GMT
Zoos count the cost of closure
Chimp
The animals must still be cared for even though there are no visitors
Concern has been expressed about the future of Scotland's zoos, which have been closed because of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow zoos have been facing severe financial difficulties, with Edinburgh set to lose more than 500,000 if it cannot open before the end of April.

Edinburgh Zoo closed as a precaution against the disease when the first foot-and-mouth case was discovered in England almost a month ago.

Glasgow Zoo closed as soon as the disease was confirmed in Scotland.

The zoos are worried that animals with cloven hooves could catch the disease.

Cloven hoof
Animals with cloven hooves can fall ill
Professor David Waugh, Edinburgh Zoo's director, said: "If this carries on and we have to remain closed, then by the end of May we will be forced to rethink on how we can run Edinburgh Zoo in the future. This is very serious indeed."

As losses mount the animals still have to be fed and other running costs continue to increase up despite the lack of visitors.

The absence of the public has also affected the animals in an unexpected manner, according to headkeeper Darren McGarry.

He said he has been told by the monkey house keeper that the chimps are showing signs of missing the public attention they always attract.

He said: "She tells me the chimps are definitely missing the interaction from people coming into the house.

"She says that one of the female chimps sits and looks at the window every time she hears the door going, thinking it is some people coming in to see them."

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