Monday, April 22, 2024

Penrith plants feeding zoo animals

Penrith City Council and the Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney have teamed up for an innovative project involving the collection of branches and shrubs containing leaves, barks and shoots from both native plant and weed species to provide additional snacks for the zoo’s animals.

Since April 2020, Penrith Council’s Bushland Management team has been donating suitable native and target weed species to Sydney Zoo for the animals to enjoy. The supplies are carefully selected and are disease and pesticide free.

During this time, Penrith City Council has provided around 30 tonnes of plant material to Sydney Zoo’s elephants, giraffes, camels, zebras and red pandas.

Penrith Mayor and Sustainability Champion, Karen McKeown OAM, praised the project’s collaborative weed removal approach.

“The zoos dedicated team have been collecting plant material from Penrith two to three times a week with the assistance of our Bushland Management staff and contractors.”

“We’ve been donating plant and weed species such as African Olive, Willow, Chinese Celtis and Bamboo to the zoo for the animals to enjoy. These plants have been identified for removal from our land by our Bushland Management team.

“Removing weeds is crucial in maintaining agricultural land and natural bushland areas and increasing the health of the sensitive vegetation communities within Penrith,” Mayor McKeown said.

Sydney Zoo’s ungulate gatekeeper, Jason Buttigieg, praised the partnership with Penrith City Council and said the animals at the zoo greatly appreciate the additional snacks.

“The fresh plants donated by Penrith Council provide important nutritional and enrichment components of the diets to a number of Sydney Zoo’s animals.

“With our Asian elephants consuming almost a tonne of plants weekly, we are delighted with the help from Council and the local community,” he said.

Sydney Zoo attained a permit under the Biosecurity Act to ensure that they could harvest from a priority weed.

Some Penrith residents have also been involved in donating plants to Sydney Zoo from their own properties. To find out more about the weeds Penrith Council has been donating to the Sydney Zoo, subscribe to the Bushcare Bulletin at

Latest Articles