OG&E begins partnership with OKC Zoo & Botanical Garden
OG&E begins partnership with OKC Zoo & Botanical Garden to supply “browse” materials for animals.
On Wednesday, April 22, members from OG&E’s Vegetation Management group made its first delivery of brush and timber to the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden to help supplement the care and feeding of several of the Zoo’s animal populations, including elephants, bears and apes. The brush, consisting of materials collected during the team’s normal vegetation management duties not only helps feed the animals, but is also an important part of the animals’ care.
“Elephants can spend up to 18 hours a day “browsing” in the wild,” said Rachel Emory, OKC Zoo’s Curator of Pachyderms. “Supplying our herd with this “browse” material is a fantastic enrichment activity as they explore and investigate, eating leaves and bark along the way. Chewing on bark and trees helps their teeth, like the benefits a dog receives when chewing on a bone. These materials provide the herd great social and health benefits.”
“Supplying our herd with this “browse” material is a fantastic enrichment activity as they explore and investigate, eating leaves and bark along the way.
The delivery Wednesday of approximately 15,000 pounds, consisted primarily of Mulberry, Hackberry and Elm. Undesirable and potentially harmful materials were separated first and Zoo officials mentioned that this was the first time in a while that the bears had been able to get to any Elm and Hackberry materials.
“Partnerships like this are so important and provide mutual benefit, in furthering the health and welfare of the Zoo’s animals, while cutting down on our waste brush and timber,” said Usha Turner, Director of Environmental Affairs & Federal Public Policy. “Our Vegetation Management group responded to the novel idea and together with Christopher Hoffman, the Zoo’s new Director of Botanical Garden, worked through the issues associated with this project to make it happen.”
“Current events have meant that the Zoo is operating with less than typical resources, which makes this a very timely partnership,” said Hoffman.
OG&E’s vegetation management waste is typically disposed of, if reuse opportunities are not developed. The team has made additional deliveries and is working with the zoo on developing a regular delivery schedule.
“We hope to be able to continue these partnerships with other animal husbandry groups and continue to look for other opportunities to repurpose our wood waste,” said Turner.