Feeding the zoo animals no small job

Ordering and preparing food for the animals at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a big job and it’s all managed by two people. A general day in the food preparation building may involve anything from cutting up fruit and vegetables, to ordering food to distributing hay around the zoo to the various locations for the keepers to feed out.

There are so many different dietary requirements from carnivores and herbivores to some animals that like tree branches only to others who prefer a combination of fruits and hay.

Every animal’s diet is carefully monitored by the veterinarians to ensure their nutrition and overall health is at an optimum level.

On average each year the zoo feeds out over 550 tonnes of hay, chaff, grains and stock feed to a variety of animals such as giraffe, antelope species, zebras, kangaroos and wallabies to name a few.

Twice a week the team orders and prepares 26 different fruit and vegetable items this includes carrots, bananas, leafy greens and apples.

Eight tonnes of apples is ordered each year exclusively for the zoo’s elephants, while the carnivores such as the lions, tigers, cheetah and African wild dogs devour approximately 40 tonnes of meat annually.

While the standard menu items such as meat, fruit, vegetables and hay are common sights around the zoo, there are animals that prefer some different menu items like the Meerkats who enjoy meal worms.

Preparing the food for all the animals at the zoo is definitely a busy job, but the team always are rewarded when they see meals demolished on a daily basis.

Who's hungry?: Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Phil Carr preparing fruit and vegetables in the animal food preparation area.

Who's hungry?: Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Phil Carr preparing fruit and vegetables in the animal food preparation area.

Recently Taronga Zoo in Sydney enjoyed celebrating its 100th birthday, serving up surprises for its giraffes, elephants and more than 6000 guests to mark a century of bringing people and wildlife together.

The centenary celebrations began at the giraffe exhibit, where Taronga’s tallest animals were treated to a special birthday breakfast before opening hours.

Keepers decorated the exhibit with a giant number “100” made from leaves, giving the giraffes a chance to use their amazing 20-inch tongues to retrieve the tasty treats.

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