Enriching the Lives of our Animals
Plants are placed in animal enclosures for many reasons. Plants provide nutrition for the animals and also allow for variety in their diets. Frequent grazing means that the plantings in an enclosure need to be replaced regularly. Staff members also harvest willow and caragana branches from other sources to provide additional forage. Grains and sprouts are grown to offer fresh greens to the animals.
Trees and large shrubs are essential to providing our animals with much needed shade. Including tall plant material in and around the enclosures ensures a shady oasis during the warm summer days. Plants also may be used as a visual barrier. Creating a screened area allows animals to take a break from one another, after all, animals need their privacy too! Plants such as tall grasses provide places to hide enrichment items for the animals. Searching out treats is just one method of keeping our animals engaged and stimulated.
Nothing goes to waste here at the Zoo if we can help it! Trees that have to be removed or tree/shrub prunings are frequently recycled into ‘furniture’ and browse for animal enclosures. The woody plant material that cannot immediately be used is chipped and used as mulch in and around the enclosures. Animal waste or ‘Zoo Poo’ is sent to the municipal composting facility to be composted, resulting in a nutrient rich soil amendment.