Beauval Zoo’s logistical challenge of feeding its animals

Participation, investment, number of animals … many figures illustrate the progress and development of the Zoo de Beauval for 40 years. Among them: the food budget. “It was 800,000 euros in 2006, today it is 1.5 million euros,” says Samuel Leroux, operations director responsible for the gondola, security, cleanliness, procurement and logistics.

Balanced diet

That is, they need to be fed, the 35,000 animals represent 600 species. By taking into account the taste, appetite of certain foods or sensitivity to certain foods (hibiscus, ficus, moringa, false mimosa, etc.), which are not necessarily found under the hoof of a zebra. Between felines eating five days a week (one day beef, the other four chicken), gorillas eating six to seven meals a day, koalas eating only eucalyptus, pandas eating bamboo as candy, manatees swearing for salad, the logistical challenge is daunting.

The zoo has therefore adapted. Internally and for import. With a credo: to provide everything the animal body needs, while limiting the loss as much as possible. This is how many partnerships have been established with local producers.

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Zoo’s food budget represents 1.5 million euros a year

On the carnivorous side, cold stores store quarters of beef, whole rabbits, mice of all sizes (for birds of prey), shelled shrimp. For feed, 400 tons are sold annually. Not to mention the dry food. “As soon as we cut grass, the first vitamin that disappears is vitamin E. As compensation, we give herbivores protein-rich pills. The sector of this food is specific and English.

For fish, the zoo works directly with the port of Boulogne. “We have our requirements. All the fish are analyzed in the fish lots, especially to know the contribution of proteins, fats … Because it will affect the diet and the rations. If the fishing is too far from the shore, it involves freezing. And freezing reduces the proportion of vitamins. Because the goal is to maintain a good nutritional balance. “

As for the frugivore diet, the development of human eating habits has simplified life in the zoo. “In the past, we brought in exotic fruits. But purely exotic, there are fewer and fewer. Mango, bananas are grown in France. For example, okra christophine, typical of African food. There is a real demand for restaurants and it is easier to find them. »

eucalyptus gift

There are the special cases left … of which the koala is one. A cold room is dedicated to preserving its eucalyptus. “He only eats the leaves. And since this plant is a poison to all other animals, we have to throw everything else away.” A scenario that does not happen with bamboo pandas, for example. What the primate does not eat is fed to giraffes or elephants.

Arnauld Pasquier

Nothing is lost, everything is transformed …Purpose: to rationalize the dishes while ensuring the nutritional balance of the animals. (photo by Pierrick Delobelle)

If the zoo tries to limit its CO2 footprint by favoring its own crops or by turning to local or departmental producers as much as possible, it also hunts waste by applying the principle attributed to Lavoisier: nothing is lost, everything is transformed. Thus, the remains of the bamboo not consumed by the pandas are given to other species. And the coaches, by carefully monitoring the daily intake of the residents, are invited to “rationalize the bowls,” as stated by Samuel Leroux, operations director. “We are also working on recycling our waste, and we have our methanation plant.” According to Ademe, the ecological conversion agency, “this plant makes it possible to recycle 11,000 tonnes of bio-waste, half of which is generated by the zoo’s own activity (green waste and fertilizer). Thus, 1,107 tonnes of CO2 are avoided every year ”.

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