PECO Donates to Philadelphia Zoo
January 2018

​This year, from May through October, PECO Energy will again partner with the Philadelphia Zoo to donate up to 200 pounds of browse each week to feed the animals. Browse, which is green, leafy tree branches, is given to the animals daily and often helps fill their dietary needs.

While local grocery stores and restaurants also partner with the zoo to donate greens, fruits, and vegetables, the electric company is there to cut back branches that need to be cleared and donate them, so the animals also can have browse.

Although the zoo gets browse from several sources, PECO was the zoo’s first corporate supplier, and the company even has a designated crew manager to coordinate the deliveries.
“The great part about the PECO partnership is the sheer volume of browse it provides,” said Barbara Toddes, the zoo’s director of animal nutrition. “It’s a tremendous amount.”

Because it is such an important part of the animals’ diets, the zoo requires much browse. Of the 330 species in the zoo, 40 eat the browse. Because browse contains fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals, and fat, it is a very easy way for the animals to receive many nutrients at one time. Chewing on the bark is also good for the animals’ teeth.

The browse also helps give the animals a sense of being in their natural environment. In the wild, giraffes graze for their food on the tree tops. So, hanging the previously cut browse from the tops of trees allows for the giraffes to get their food as they naturally would.

Because of this partnership, the animals in the zoo now have plenty of browse to graze. This is just one way electric companies make an impact in their communities, while also providing for the animals of the Philadelphia Zoo.