Some of the world’s rarest animals are celebrating harvest time at DZG with homegrown produce.
From Bornean orang utans to Tibetan red pandas they’re all enjoying the very Best of British that’s grown on the doorstep as Team Leader, Jay Haywood, and Trainee Keeper, Jo Turner, discovered when they gave autumn goodies to Brazilian tapir, Tallulah! Keepers have been handing out apples, pears, onions, carrots and late salad crops to the 1,300-strong animal collection and have also been picking fruit for free in the shape of blackberries and raspberries growing wild across the 40-acre hillside woodland as enjoyed by babirusa, Nick, who was delighted to receive fruity five-a-day treats from Trainee Keeper, Hannah Follows. DZG Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, said: “All of our animals enjoy a well-balanced diet that takes advantage of seasonal produce. “We know how important it is to buy British, we’ve been doing it for the past 76 years. Since the zoo was founded in 1937 we have sourced locally-grown food, bought from suppliers on our doorstep, and opted for seasonal produce wherever possible.
“And with an annual food bill topping £112,000 we have to make sure our pennies buy the very best of British produce.”
Fruits and vegetables are purchased from neighbouring counties, but the site’s freshest food fish for two Patagonian sealions and the UK’s largest colony of 66 rare Humboldt penguins arrives from Grimsby within hours of being caught. Alongside fish we buy soft fruits and vegetables from Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, plus cereals from Staffordshire and meat from a Midlands wholesaler. Jill added: “There are more than 1,300 animals at DZG representing 200 species, and that’s a lot of mouths to feed.
“Our current annual food bill comes in at £112,000, which is more than £2,150 per week; we have to find those funds regardless of a poor season or low visitor figures, so we really need to get best value for money which is why we buy British.”
IN 2010 DZG WAS THE FIRST UK ZOO TO JOIN BRITISH FOOD FORTNIGHT
Staff (from left) DZG CEO, Peter Suddock, Head of Media and Communications, Jill Hitchman, and ex Team Leader Presentation, David Riley, were presented to HRH the Duchess of Cornwall at a VIP reception at Westminster Cathedral.
BRITISH FOOD FORTNIGHT
RUNS FROM SEPTEMBER 21 to OCTOBER 6
See who’s involved at