A feast for beasts

9 November 2010
Nine tonnes of meat, 38,000 eggs, 8,320 cabbages, 13 tonnes of carrots and 1,716 pints of milk. No, HT isn’t preparing Christmas dinner for the contestants on Celebrity Fit Club. It’s the annual shopping list at London Zoo, which also includes 78 kilos of popcorn for the gorillas and 240 coconuts for the Hyacinth macaws and bearded pigs.The food is sourced locally, more than a tonne of bananas and apples come from London’s Covent Garden Market, to keep the zoo’s 600 occupants happy. “Feeding all of our animals is a mammoth task. They all have different dietary requirements which need to be met, and some individuals are fussier than others,” says zookeeper Nicky Jago. “Our male sloth, for example, doesn’t like mushrooms but our female sloth loves them, and our armadillos don’t like food that’s too crunchy for them.” The zoo also benefits from the generosity of local supermarkets, who hand over unsold fruit and veg to be finished off by the inhabitants. In fact, keepers use a specialist computer programme – the Zootrition (no, we aren’t making this up) – to match the animal diets to what they would eat in the wild. Although where a gorilla gets his hands on popcorn in the wild is beyond HT, having never seen them queuing up at the local Odeon.
Richmond upon Thames, London (Greater)
Falmer, Brighton
£33,797 rising to £40,322 per annum
University of Sussex
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