Three acres of overgrown bamboo is a good problem to have, as long as you’re a Dallas Zoo animal! Our red river hogs, primates and many other animals are now benefiting from Paula Hagan and George Muszejnski’s landscape problem at their Lake Tyler property.
The couple donated more than 3,000 feet of valuable timber bamboo to be used as animal enrichment.
Enrichment is anything that enhances animal behaviors or their natural environments, according to Dallas Zoo Enrichment Committee Chair Jenifer Joseph. This can include spreading an evening snack for a tiger all across the habitat or building complex scratching structures out of natural products for the hogs and giraffes.
Bamboo is especially useful for animal enrichment because of its versatility. Food is stuffed in it for animals to dig out (think nature’s Kong toy), and it’s made into fencing, scratchers and more for the animals.
“George and I had thought about trying to find a buyer for it, but we were also wondering if the Dallas Zoo would have any use for it,” said Hagan. “Then we visited the Zoo in May with our family and noticed bamboo fencing the same size as what we had cut down.”
Hagan and Muszejnski are happy to do a good deed for Hagan’s late grandmother, who was an animal lover and originally planted the bamboo to use as fishing rods.
Now in the hands of the Zoo, staff and volunteers are giving the bamboo a second life all across the Zoo’s 106 acres.
But what about enrichment for our larger-than-life animals? Easy. We love larger-than-life natural donations. The Zoo’s award-winning Giants of the Savanna exhibit received a root ball from a large tree removed from Highland Park. Our elephants treat large logs and tree roots like furniture, moving them all around the habitat.
Interested in helping with Dallas Zoo animal enrichment? Check out these two options:
- E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a very large quantity of tree limbs, root balls, logs, etc. that you would donate.
- Visit the Local Oak restaurant in Oak Cliff this weekend (June 23-26). A portion of all food and beverage sales will be donated to the Zoo’s Enrichment Committee.