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Starving zoo animals are a 'metaphor for Venezuelan suffering'

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An employee gives papaya to an Andean bear at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Venezuelans are suffering in many ways right now.

A severe economic crisis in the country has led to massive inflation and major shortages of food, medicine, and other essentials.

Like the people, zoo animals are also going hungry, says Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for the National Park Institute Inparques Project.

"The story of the animals at Caricuao [Zoo in Caracas] is a metaphor for Venezuelan suffering," she said.

Sifontes told Reuters that some animals at Caricuao have not eaten for two weeks. The fatalities so far include Vietnamese pigs, tapirs, rabbits and birds. At least 50 zoo animals have starved to death in recent months.

Here are some of the animals getting by in the midst of serious shortages.

Sleeping lion

A lion sleeps inside a cage at the Caricuao Zoo in Caracas, Venezuela on July 12, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Hungry jaguar

A jaguar chews a piece of meat the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016.

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Caged bear

An Andean bear stretch its claw inside a cage at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

An employee gives papaya to eat to an Andean bear at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Monkey business

An employee gives vitamins with a syringe to a capuchin monkey at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

A worker puts papaya on the floor for the spider monkeys, at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

A capuchin monkey eats a piece of papaya at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

A few donations

Donated food for animals is seen at the Paraguana zoo in Punto Fijo, Venezuela on July 22, 2016. 

Credit:

Carlos Jasso/Reuters

Check out Reuters' video about the food shortages in Venezuela's zoos here.