Thousands of donated leftover pumpkins turned into treats for Oakland Zoo’s animals this week! Truckloads of large, medium, and mini pumpkins from local patches were sorted and unloaded. 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.
“The pumpkin is amongst the favorite of treats for elephants,” said Gina Kinzley, Lead Elephant Keeper. “Not only used for chopping up into small bits to spread, the pumpkins are also fed out whole, frozen, and on kabobs for the elephants to discover in their habitat. If they can’t fit a pumpkin directly into their mouth, they puncture it with their tusks or stomp it open with their foot. Most of these leftover pumpkins would otherwise we thrown out or tilled back into the land. The donations provide a fun and healthy food source for our animals at Oakland Zoo.”
Oakland Zoo visitors are able to see animals feasting on the sweet treats daily throughout the months of November and December.