Winter food is a tall order

Ungulates keepers are collecting fallen leaves from ash and sycamore trees across the 40-acre site to use as winter feed for giraffes.

DZG-leaf-store-2-webThe vegetation will be stored in airtight drums to make sure our three Rothschild giraffes – 12-year-old Kubwa and females Josie aged seven and Mia, three – remain well fed throughout the colder months when their regular browse is unavailable.

Curator Matt Lewis said keepers are collecting the leaves on dry, windy days, when weather conditions are ideal for storage.

He said: “We are stockpiling the prize leaves and small branches and they have to be perfectly dry so that they don’t go mouldy.

“The weather is fairly mixed at the moment, but we’ve been getting the job done slowly.

“Giraffes have very tough mouths and their tongues and lips are unaffected by thorny branches. In the wild they daily eat up to 30kg of acacia, mimosa and wild apricot trees.

CAPTIONS: RIGHT: Assistant Curator Richard Brown (top) and keeper Jay Haywood collect leaves which will be stored as winter food for the attraction’s three Rothschild giraffes.

BELOW: The leaves are overwintered in airtight containers. 

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BELOW: Richard feeds the three rare Rothschild giraffes in the paddock.

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