Leftover Halloween Pumpkins Repurposed for Oakland Zoo Animals

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Oakland, CA…November 7, 2018 – Instead of ending up as waste in a compost or trash bin, hundreds of leftover pumpkins were donated to Oakland Zoo as treats and enrichment forthe animals.Zookeepers headed out in trucks the morning of November 1stto pick up truck-fulls of leftover pumpkins from local Halloween pumpkin patches for Oakland Zoo’s animals to feast on. Now a tradition, this annual happening becomes quite a treat for many animals at Oakland Zoo, due to the generous donations of Moore’s Pumpkins in Castro Valley, Fuji Melon and Monterey Market.

“Making smart and sustainable choices is important to us. Most Halloween pumpkins – 1.3 billion pounds, in fact – end up in the landfill where they generate greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Pumpkins can be made into yummy seeds, soup or bread and eaten, composted at home, or donated to Oakland Zoo for a fun and healthy food source for our animal family!,” Amy Gotliffe, Director of Conservation at Oakland Zoo.

Truckloads of large, medium, and mini pumpkins from local patches have been sorted and unloaded by zookeepers. Besides being added to many animal diets, zookeepers have creatively crafted the orange vegetables into enrichment items such as pumpkin kabobs, gourd bowls filled with meat treats, puzzle feeders, and even frozen delicacies. Zoo visitors are able to see animals feasting on the sweet treats daily now through the end of December.

“The pumpkin is amongst the favorite of treats for elephants,” said Gina Kinzley, Lead Elephant Keeper.“If they can’t fit a whole pumpkin directly into their mouths, they puncture it with their tusks or stomp it open with their foot. Most of these pumpkins would otherwise be thrown out or tilled back into the land. The donations provide a fun and healthy food source for so many of our animals.”

ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO AND THE CONSERVATION SOCIETY OF CALIFORNIA:
Oakland Zoo, home to more than 700 native and exotic animals, is managed by the Conservation Society of California (CSC); a non-profit organization leading an informed and inspired community to take action for wildlife locally and globally. With over 25 conservation partners and projects worldwide, the CSC is committed to conservation-based education and saving species and their habitats in the wild. Oakland Zoo is dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the national organization that sets the highest standards for animal welfare for zoos and aquariums.

Source: Oakland Zoo

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