People of the zoo: meet Adelaide Zoo Foodstore Keeper Russell

With more than 2,500 hungry mouths to feed with all different tastes and requirements, ‘culinary zoologist’ aka foodstore keeper Russell certainly has his work cut out for him!

As part of our People of the Zoo series, come behind the scenes of his daily life feeding the more 250 species of exotic and native mammals, birds, reptiles and carnivores that call Adelaide Zoo home and learn about the vital role the food store plays in maintaining the health and wellbeing of our vast collection of animals.

With most of our fresh fruits and vegetables coming from the local markets and suppliers, our animals receive the same quality and variety of food as you would eat at home.

From fresh fruit for our feathery friends, to root vegetables and plants for our giraffe, and fish for Adelaide Zoo’s own penguin colony, everything is weighed, measured, divided and prepared for delivery to our animals fresh every morning.

Our horticulture team also cut browse from the public or businesses which have trees that are suitable for nesting or supplementary dietary needs and require pruning, seasonal trimming or removal.

Food store, keepers, horticulture and veterinary staff are dedicated to supplying the best possible nutrition to all our hungry mouths.

Our birds, meerkats and orangutans are being spoiled with freshly steamed potatoes, carrots and pumpkin and boiled eggs, while some of our older residents receive a gourmet meal, caring for their special needs such as teeth issues.

We even have our own bamboo plantation just outside of Adelaide to ensure our hungry A-listers, Giant Pandas Wang Wang and Fu Ni , can always enjoy their favourite bamboo.

As a lot of our animals have their own individual dietary requirements, our staff work closely across many departments to asses these and to ensure our animals receive their food not just to maintain healthy weights, but also for enrichment purposes, training, and in some cases to hide medication.

As a conservation charity, the health and well-being of the amazing animals in our care is so important, and it’s thanks to the dedicated work of people like Russell that we are able to keep our animals happy and healthy.

Here is a snap shot of some of food our animals eat every week!

360kg carrots

200kg pellets and seed

30kg each of rockmelon, honey dew and pawpaw

20kg grapes

160kg fish

300kg apples and pear

200kg meat

30 bales hay

3kgs mealworms

250kg Bamboo

Love the zoo? Read how Monarto Zoo Natives Keeper Simon is helping to secure a future for some of Australia’s most endangered animals here.

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About Zoos SA

Zoos SA is a not-for-profit conservation charity that exists to connect people with nature and save species from extinction.

Zoos SA acknowledges the Country on which we stand always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land and we pay our deepest respect and gratitude to Kaurna (Adelaide Zoo) and Ngarrindjeri (Monarto Safari Park) Elders, past, present and emerging.

We undertake critical conservation work throughout Australia and acknowledge the traditional custodians of these lands.


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