Behind-the-Scenes look in the zoo’s kitchen!

Zoo staff take us through the protocols of the kitchen and how to make meals for the animals.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 1:59 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We’re getting a behind-the-scenes look at how zoo staff prepare the animals’ meals at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo in Monroe.

Lisa Taylor, general curator at the zoo, says the diets are USDA-approved.

Zookeeper Jeanne Baumann says their grocery list is very similar to ours! It’s filled with fresh fruits and vegetables along with meat.

They’ve got morning and afternoon diets along with specific animals for primates, etc. Basically, they try to keep diets as close to what these animals would eat in the wild.

For one of their older white-handed gibbons, Big Mama, Baumann says she gets a lot of apples, carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, and blueberries.

They include enrichment in some pans like paper mache ornaments that birds can navigate to find their food.

For Oscar the bear, Baumann says he gets some medication each day and they’ve found it goes down well with a bite-sized brownie, so that’s his enrichment for the day.

They’re also prepared for events like ice storms and hurricanes, which we’re familiar with in NELA. Per USDA guidelines, Baumann says they’ve got at least seven days of food on hand at all times for each of the animals in the event of a disaster.

You can always help support the zoo by donating fresh produce or canned goods!

“We do have some local farmers in their backyard gardens that bring us things that we greatly appreciate like cucumbers and watermelons and tomatoes.”

The zoo is open every day of the week between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and the splash pad is open as long as weather permits.

You can visit their Facebook page for more information.