Melbourne Zoo Browse Project – Feeding Giraffe

Back in 2004 my wife Pat showed me an article in F.O.T.Z. Zoo News Magazine. The Zoo was searching for particular plants that people may have growing in their gardens. They wanted to take prunings from these garden plants to feed to some of the animals in the zoo. She suggested that Kambrya could grow some of these plants. The idea of a plantation grown for zoo browse was born! Late 2004 we planted 100 shrubs suitable for browse for ungulates (giraffe, zebra and other hooved animals), elephant, gorilla and orang-utan. Then we waited for them to grow.

In September 2007 we had the horticulture people from the zoo come and assess the plants and then take their first harvest. In December we had a second harvest and actually took the cut browse to the zoo. Have you ever had an up-close-and-personal with a giraffe? I knew they were big, but when you are standing within 2-3m of one, and staring at its kneecaps, you really get an idea of how big that they are. They are awesome animals (in the correct meaning of the word)! As the giraffe lowers it head to within 50cm of you it is quite a shock when this tongue, which seems to just keep coming, wraps itself around the food you are offering. Its tongue grips harder than we can grip something with our hand. Quite an experience! Next time we hope it’s the elephants we’ll be feeding!




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