Making sure every single one of our animals has access to the various top-quality foods, pristine water and perfect temperatures they need is a very big job!
With everything from ferocious big cats and huge birds to lofty giraffes and tiny lizards, it’s no wonder that in an effort to maintain the highest of animal welfare standards, zoos face some enormous sustainability challenges.
But we believe that shouldn’t be used as an excuse.
As one of the highest-ranking climate action leaders in the country, it’s up to us to not just talk the talk, but pull our shoes on and get walking. At Adelaide Zoo, we’re proud to be working towards reducing our environmental footprint, and are always looking for new ways to lessen our impact on the planet.
We’re thrilled to have reduced our reliance on grid energy by 20 per cent since 2012. This was made possible by implementing changes like switching existing lighting throughout the zoo to much more energy efficient LED lighting, and installing programmable timers into our exhibit water features to ensure they didn’t waste energy pumping water when it wasn’t needed. We’re also home to 230kW in solar panels which, in conjunction with purchasing solar energy rather than energy from nonrenewable sources, gives us over 300,000kW of energy per year. That’s enough energy to power a light bulb for over 580 years!
Our previous Environmental Management Plan included the goal to reduce water consumption dramatically and we’re proud to report that between 2008 and 2013, we managed to cut our bore water usage by 76 per cent! Now we’ve set our sights on continuing to monitor and analyse our water consumption to ensure our processes are as efficient as possible. This includes things like installing new pumping technologies and smart metering programs, as well as finding ways our horticulture team can be more efficient when hydrating our plants and gardens using soil moisture sensing technologies.
Recycling and reusing
One of the greatest ways to reduce how much rubbish ends up in landfill or polluting our waterways and oceans is to simply create and throw out less. At Adelaide Zoo, we work with our waste management partners to make sure all rubbish thrown away on site is properly sorted and recycled according to type. This includes hard and soft plastics, glass, cardboard and paper, organic waste, metals, timber, polystyrene and e-waste.
We’re also in the middle of planning a feasibility study which will identify where within our organisation we consume single use plastics and in what quantities. The findings of this study will help us figure out what percentage of our resources are single use and how we can cut down on these resources, find a more sustainable alternative, or eliminate their use entirely.
We’re not stopping there… One of our key sustainability goals for 2018-2023 includes reducing our carbon emissions by 600 tonnes – the equivalent of taking around 250 medium-sized petrol cars off the road for an entire year!
There are heaps of things you can do to help us achieve our sustainability goals. By making sure you dispose of your waste correctly when visiting the zoo is a really easy way to make sure your rubbish is recycled rather than put into landfill. Even more, our location means you don’t have to emit greenhouses gases to get to us – you could catch a bus, take the train, ride your bike or even visit us on foot.
Finally, by becoming a Zoos SA member, you’ll help us to continue our vital conservation work and ensure we have the funding to continue making environmental improvements.
With a string of exciting new arrivals, some adorable baby animals and lots of very special long-term residents, there’s never been a better time to visit us.