Often we are asked whether it is possible to feed the animals at the Ecomuseum Zoo. Other times guests take the initiative to feed the animals without asking permission. In those cases all types of foods are given: chips, fruits, candies, chocolate, etc. But why do we not allow visitors to feed the animals here while other institutions allow it? Here are a few elements that might help you understand:
Because their diet is strictly controlled.
Each animal has a different diet that is planned, weighed and controlled by our animal care team. Each species has different nutritional needs. For example: large felines eat only meat while raccoons have a much more varied diet. Does “varied” mean that they can eat anything? Most certainly not! A variety of products are offered to ensure each necessary vitamin and nutrient is absorbed for their best health. In quantities too large some foods that we may think are healthy can become problematic for the animals.
Because certain foods are toxic for them.
Perhaps Bob harbored no ill-intentions when he gave the animal a piece of his granola bar to hopefully see the animal from a closer vantage point. He certainly didn’t know that the chocolate chips found in the bar are not only toxic for domestic pets, but also for wildlife. Sometimes well-intentioned guests with no malice offer snacks that could have grave consequences for the health of the zoo’s animal residents.
To ensure healthy weight management.
Obesity in wildlife, just as in humans, can be quite detrimental to one’s health. By controlling animal diets we can limit calorie intake to ensure optimal weight levels. During certain periods of the year quantities are adjusted according to nutritional and caloric needs: it’s quite the science!
The Ecomuseum Zoo takes to heart the health of all its animals. As you know, the animals that reside here at the zoo sometimes have particular health issues and are closely monitored by the animal care and veterinary teams. They work hand in hand to ensure the well-being of each precious creature!