28 January 2021

Gorilla diet at the Zoo

Our Zookeepers have shared inspirational images of the gorilla troop tucking into armfuls of fresh veg during the last few days of Veganuary - as the closed zoo reveals eye-opening details from its monthly food bill while calling on the public for support in the form of donations.

Gorilla diet at the Zoo
© ZSL

Mums Effie and Mjukuu, and youngsters Alika and Gernot eat up to 14kg of plant-based delights each day, delivered fresh from Covent Garden Market three times a week – a typical month’s food order for London Zoo includes 500 boxes of sweet potato, 3,000 cucumbers, 18 bunches of baby beetroots and 215 corn on the cobs, adding up to more than £22,000 a month in veg alone.  
 
Zookeeper Glynn Hennessy said: “Veganuary is drawing to a close and we thought that our gorillas tucking into handfuls of colourful, healthy veg would be the perfect inspiration for anyone finding these last few days a bit of a struggle.  

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Cost of feeding animals

“But it costs £1million a month to feed and care for the 20,000 animals at both London and Whipsnade Zoos, which is a lot of money when our gates are closed to the public and we don’t have the funds coming in from the ticket sales.” 

Zookeeper  prepares breakfast for the gorillas at London Zoo
© ZSL

A typical daily menu for the four Critically Endangered Western lowland gorillas consists of 1.4kg radicchio, 2.0kg cos lettuce, 5kg spinach, 3.5kg of mixed vegetables like leek and chicory and 800g of root veg like carrots and parsnips – plus a few handfuls of their favourite walnuts and other pulses.  
 
Glynn added: “Our gorillas like their veg raw or lightly steamed, which is a lovely winter treat – they hold the warm veg in their hands until it cools, just like we do with hot drinks on a wintry walk. The troop love their fresh veg and the youngsters never need any encouragement to eat their greens – they really are the perfect inspiration for healthy eating! 

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