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Capital controls bite Athens zoo

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 02:10

Capital controls in Greece are causing widespread pain throughout the country, including at a zoo in Athens, which is struggling to provide for its animals. Grace Pascoe reports.

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Capital controls...not something animals should have to worry about. But that's the reality for these residents of Athens' Attica Zoo. The zoo's founder, Jean-Jacques Lesueur, has requested exemption from the controls, which have left him unable to pay for imported feed. As yet he's had no response from the Greek finance ministry. As his stocks deplete further, he's unable to replace them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTICA ZOOLOGICAL PARK FOUNDER, JEAN-JACQUES LESUEUR, SAYING: "We consume about 50 tonnes of frozen fish per year, for our dolphins, seals and pelicans, our penguins, so this comes from Holland and it will have to be paid cash in advance. Right now, we can't do anything. Our account is blocked, we cannot get money out of the country. We are going to be out of stock in the next week." Anteater mealworms from Britain and frozen herring from the Netherlands are amongst the dwindling supplies. Some foods can be replaced locally, but they would lack critical vitamins, additives and proteins. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ATTICA ZOOLOGICAL PARK FOUNDER, JEAN-JACQUES LESUEUR, SAYING: "I do hope we will get the authorisation to pay and get them in, because we are speaking about life and death for certain animals." There could be relief in sight though. Barring some technical challenges, it's hoped banks will re-open on Monday, after the ECB increased emergency funding for Greek lenders. NAB's Nick Parsons. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK, HEAD OF MARKETS STRATEGY, NICK PARSONS, SAYING: "Whether it will be smooth depends on how big the lines are outside the ATM's, it seems as though we are going to have limits on the amount that can be withdrawn and on the frequency with which those withdrawals could be made. So I think we would have to see this very much as a partial opening." As the queuing continues outside Greek cashpoints, many realise there are no quick fixes in sight. (SOUNDBITE) (Greek) VASSILIKI, 68, SAYING: "They are killing us. Of course, it's not just me, everybody's having it bad. Everybody. Of course, we (my generation) have been through poverty and such. I hope our children will have a better future in two or three years from now. What else is there to do?" But the bank's re-opening won't help the zoo - capital controls are still expected to remain in place for weeks.

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Capital controls bite Athens zoo

Friday, July 17, 2015 - 02:10