Zoo keepers at Drusillas Park are busy preparing for the winter, harvesting fresh hazel leaves to freeze and store for the animals’ winter feed.
Keepers Mark Kenward and Sophie Leadbitter were joined by four Bede’s animal management students, Mia Worsdall, 17, Zoe Young, 17, Emily Hickson, 17 and Mitchell Pledge, 18.
The students helped with the task of stripping down the browse to make it more compact and storage efficient.
Head keeper of the family-run zoo near Alfriston Mark Kenward said: “Many trees will soon be losing their leaves, so before they do, we chopped down some branches, brought them to the park and have stripped them down ready to freeze in bulk.
“This is something we aim to do every year and it can be very time consuming, so having the Bede’s students here to assist us with the task was very helpful.
“Harvesting the leaves in this way means we can feed them to some of the animals in small handfuls throughout the winter as part of their varied diet.
“The browse are full of fibre and are good for the animals’ teeth.”
The sloths, macaques, colobus monkeys, capybaras and beavers are some of the animals that will enjoy the browse at Drusillas this winter.
Browse is an animal feed made from leaves, shoots and twigs of shrubs and trees mainly to feel cattle, deer and many zoo animals, too.