Meat Free Monday

It’s Go Green Week and DZG is kicking it all off with Meat Free Monday.

Many of the 200 species here have a vegetarian diet, from great apes to the tiniest creatures in the Discovery Centre, and they enjoy a wealth of different foods.

Every day our storemen prepare, on average, 22kg cabbage, 24kg carrots, six cauliflower, 4kg onions, 12kg potatoes, six cucumbers, 25 lettuce and 1kg swede for the zoo’s vegetarian species.

That’s in addition to 3kg of oranges, 15 kg bananas, 3kg pears and 5kg tomatoes, which are shared out and delivered to section kitchens across the 40-acre site.

Curator Matt Lewis, said: “It’s so important to make sure all the fruit and vegetables we feed our animals is fresh and healthy which is why we only buy seasonal vegetables, sourced as locally as possible.”

The store’s staff begin their day at 8am so that all the food can be ready for when keepers arrive to start their daily routines.


The task of making sure we have enough of the right food for our animals is down to one man – DZG’s oldest employee, 70-year-old Bill Newton.

And one vegetarian dish that’s a definite hit with our chimps is Lower Primates Trainee Keeper Shaun Crompton’s Veggie Spag Bol!  


Shaun – pictured above – said: “When I was thinking of alternative dishes to give the chimpanzees, I remembered the spaghetti bolognese that I make at home and decided that would be a perfect dish, minus the meat and a few other high-sugar ingredients.

“I made up a big pan and they went mad for it. I use carrots, onions and tomatoes, plus a few chillies for that extra kick, and cook it for them about once a month as a treat.”

Go Green Week is a national initiative organised by student campaigning group People and Planet.

Today’s Top Tip: Give your friends or colleagues a vegetarian or vegan cooking demonstration to encourage people to reduce the amount of meat they eat.

And tomorrow… Travel Light Tuesday, when we’ll zoom on how we cut down on travel miles and use one of the lowest emission forms of transport!