The San Diego Zoo’s Food Locker

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Zoo InternQuest is a seven-week career exploration program for San Diego high school juniors and seniors. Students have the unique opportunity to meet professionals working for the San Diego Zoo, Safari Park, and the Institute for Conservation Research, learn about their jobs, and then blog about their experience online. Follow their adventures here on the Zoo’s Website!

On Thursday, October 22, 2015, the Interns had an inside look at the Nutritional Services Department. The interns met with Deborah Lowe, the Nutritional Services Supervisor at the San Diego Zoo. The interns had the opportunity to view all the different spaces that allow the Nutritional Services Department to prepare food for all species.

On the left is Ms. Katie Kerr, an Associate Nutritionist at the San Diego Zoo, and on the right is Ms. Deborah Lowe, the Nutritional Services Supervisor at the San Diego Zoo. Ms. Lowe led the interns through the different parts of the Nutritional Services Departments. Each warehouse in the Nutritional Services Department allows Ms. Lowe and Ms. Kerr to provide the San Diego Zoo’s animals with specialized dietary care.

On the left is Ms. Katie Kerr, an Associate Nutritionist at the San Diego Zoo, and on the right is Ms. Deborah Lowe, the Nutritional Services Supervisor at the San Diego Zoo. Ms. Lowe led the interns through the different parts of the Nutritional Services Departments. Each warehouse in the Nutritional Services Department allows Ms. Lowe and Ms. Kerr to provide the San Diego Zoo’s animals with specialized dietary care.

In the bird kitchen they house the hobart machine. Ms. Lowe, and the rest of her team, use the hobart machine to dice up the fruit. The hobart machine saves them time on their prep work by dicing up fruits and vegetables much quicker than by hand. For the birds alone they have to dice up 240 pounds of fruit each day. Each bird has an individual preference between vegetables and fruits just like we do. For example, the hornbill’s enjoy eating vegetables.

In the bird kitchen they house the hobart machine. Ms. Lowe, and the rest of her team, use the hobart machine to dice up the fruit. The hobart machine saves them time on their prep work by dicing up fruits and vegetables much quicker than by hand. For the birds alone they have to dice up 240 pounds of fruit each day. Each bird has an individual preference between vegetables and fruits just like we do. For example, the hornbill’s enjoy eating vegetables.

In the forage warehouse, Ms. Lowe took the interns into a large fridge where they store fruit. Meat and fish are stored in different fridges to avoid contamination. The forage team has pre-cut fruit stored in the fridge as seen in the photo above. All the fruit that the San Diego Zoo serves to the animals is restaurant quality.

In the forage warehouse, Ms. Lowe took the interns into a large fridge where they store fruit. Meat and fish are stored in different fridges to avoid contamination. The forage team has pre-cut fruit stored in the fridge as seen in the photo above. All the fruit that the San Diego Zoo serves to the animals is restaurant quality.

Ms. Lowe took us into the meat freezer, also in the forage warehouse. The meat is stored at a colder temperature than the fruit for preservation purposes. When the interns went into the freezer it was much colder than the produce fridge because it allows the meat to stay fresher for longer periods of time.

Ms. Lowe took us into the meat freezer also located in the forage warehouse. The meat is stored at a colder temperature than the fruit for preservation purposes. When the interns went into the freezer, it was much colder than the produce fridge because it allows the meat to stay fresher for longer periods of time.

Next, the Interns went into the grain room, one of the first buildings built at the San Diego Zoo. Interns on their tour of the grain room, found out that that space holds large amounts of dog food, cat food, parrot food and other types of dry foods and grain. In the picture above, Ms. Kerr is holding a bag of dry food from the grain room that is filled with pieces that are all different shapes, sizes and colors. The interns learned that the animals have preferences too. Certain animals have a preference of shape, size and color of their food.  With a variety of foods, Ms. Lowe can ensure that the animals will eat and receive proper nutrition.

Next, the Interns went into the grain room, one of the first buildings built at the San Diego Zoo. Interns on their tour of the grain room, found out that that space holds large amounts of dog food, cat food, parrot food and other types of dry foods and grain. In the picture above, Ms. Kerr is holding a bag of dry food from the grain room that is filled with pieces that are all different shapes, sizes and colors. The interns learned that the animals have preferences too. Certain animals have a preference of shape, size and color of their food. With a variety of foods, Ms. Lowe can ensure that the animals will eat and receive proper nutrition.

Ms. Lowe also took the interns into the food storage space where we found items very similar to their own pantries. Primates will drink Gatorade when they are sick which can help stop bloating.

Ms. Lowe also took the interns into the food storage space where we found items very similar to their own pantries. Primates will drink Gatorade when they are sick which can help stop bloating.

In the barn, the Nutritional Services Department stores three types of hay: sudan, bermuda, and alfalfa. The hay is stored inside to reduce the amount of hay lost by the wind, rain, other elements, and even, rodents. Ms. Lowe will not accept a load of hay if it is raining because the hay will ruin if it is wet. She will then reschedule the delivery. Before Nutritional Services Department feed the hay to the animals they test the hay for certain levels of nutrients. If the hay was harvested to early it can be harmful to the animals. Also, before feeding the hay to the animals they check the hay for trash, or other harmful items to ensure the animals safety.

In the barn, the Nutritional Services Department stores three types of hay: sudan, bermuda, and alfalfa. The hay is stored inside to reduce the amount of hay lost by the wind, rain, other elements, and even, rodents. Ms. Lowe will not accept a load of hay if it is raining because the hay will ruin if it is wet. She will then reschedule the delivery. Before Nutritional Services Department feed the hay to the animals they test the hay for certain levels of nutrients. If the hay was harvested to early it can be harmful to the animals. Also, before feeding the hay to the animals they check the hay for trash, or other harmful items to ensure the animals safety.

The last room Ms. Lowe showed the interns was the bug room. In the picture above, stacked on a shelf are mill worms in large trays and king worms in cups. The mill worms are stored living on top of one another. The king worms are sorted into the cups by the amount of worms and their weight.  Mill worms are given to the Tasmanian devils, birds, meerkats and primates.

The last room Ms. Lowe showed the interns was the bug room. In the picture above, stacked on a shelf are mill worms in large trays and king worms in cups. The mill worms are stored living on top of one another. The king worms are sorted into the cups by the amount of worms and their weight. Mill worms are given to the Tasmanian devils, birds, meerkats and primates.

Additionally, king worms are also stored in the bug room, and are kept for a week before they start to die. King worms are an aggressive species and will try to bite you. King worms are also given to the Tasmanian devils, birds, meerkats and primates as a source of high protein and enrichment for these animals.

Additionally, king worms are also stored in the bug room, and are kept for a week before they start to die. King worms are an aggressive species and will try to bite you. King worms are also given to the Tasmanian devils, birds, meerkats and primates as a source of high protein and enrichment for these animals.

In addition to the mill worms and king worms stored in the bug room, there are crickets. For three days crickets are feed with a yellow powder, which is a high calcium diet. Being that crickets are a source of high protein, they are often fed to a variety of bird and reptile species. In one week, Birds alone are fed 10,000 crickets!

In addition to the mill worms and king worms stored in the bug room, there are crickets. For three days crickets are feed with a yellow powder, which is a high calcium diet. Being that crickets are a source of high protein, they are often fed to a variety of bird and reptile species. In one week, Birds alone are fed 10,000 crickets!

Lauren, Photo Team
Week Three, Fall 2015

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