How Your Home’s Landscaping Can Help Feed the Animals at Fresno Chaffee Zoo


FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — It’s breakfast time for Amahle, Musi and Nolwazi at Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

Elephants can be found foraging in the African Adventure Zone, but what they nibble on is plant life much closer to home than you might think.

“Seven species commonly found in Fresno, whether you prune it in your yard or have a landscaper come to help take care of your yard, all of these species are readily available and often times this material ends up going to the dump,” says General Curator Lyn Myers.

Myers says the zoo hopes to partner with the public, asking you to reuse those branches and shrubs and turn them into treats for the animals.

Typically, herbivores eat hay, grasses, and pellets filled with all the nutrients they need, but home-grown bits of certain shrubs and trees known as “grazing” have mental and physical benefits. .

“Not only is that sometimes a delicacy, something they don’t get very often, but it’s really important for them to rip and shred and use those behaviors that they would naturally use in nature” , Myers said.

Whether they eat it or make beds from it, about 20 to 30 species of animals living in the zoo would benefit from the navigation program.

Of the seven types, the most identifiable and most often used for shading are bamboo, Chinese elm, pistachio, and mulberry.

Orundo grass is invasive and can be found as a background landscape or in wetter areas.

Xylasma is commonly used for screening in backyards…

A fan favorite at the zoo – carob tree.

“The new growth sometimes has a kind of really red brown stem and sometimes the leaves are a different color and brighter than the mature leaves,” Myers said.

You or your landscaper can drop off your contributions on the east side of the zoo for free. Just take the road inside the park towards Golden State Boulevard.

The area is delimited by a sign indicating “approved navigation area”, where qualified personnel will sort all donations.

“They might eat as much as you bring,” Myers said. “If we had a big van a day, we’d be in heaven.”

Drop off at the zoo is the preferred method, but if you call ahead they can work with you to try and collect your Browse donation.

For more information, visit the the zoo website.

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