New on the menu at Flamingo Land zoo - some of the finest riverbank vegetation

Feeding the giraffes at Flamingo Land are, from left, Environment Agency officers Darryl Wragg, Tim Arnold, Sarah I'Anson and Neil Trigger.
Feeding the giraffes at Flamingo Land are, from left, Environment Agency officers Darryl Wragg, Tim Arnold, Sarah I'Anson and Neil Trigger.

Giraffes and rhinos at Flamingo Land zoo are enjoying some of the finest local riverbank vegetation thanks to a partnership with a government body.

Sarah I’Anson, of the Environment Agency, came up with the idea while carrying out maintenance work to reduce flood risk in the Rivers Derwent and Esk catchment area.

She said: “As we were trimming back vegetation and pruning trees in the Malton and Pickering area I thought, ‘surely we could put this to good use?’

“Then it crossed my mind that Flamingo Land might be able to use it to feed some of their animals.

“We liaised with our Environment Management colleagues to make sure we were complying with waste regulations.

“Once we got the go-ahead, Flamingo Land were over the moon that we could deliver fresh vegetation for their animals to eat.”

Some of the larger tree branches and trunks that the team cleared from riverbanks have been placed in enclosures at the zoo to improve the habitat for the animals.

Sarah added: “Every party wins in this partnership – we get to take our trailers of green waste straight to the zoo and the animals get vegetation which they cannot grow enough of on site.

“We’re not having to chop the branches as small, and it saves us from using a chipper, or having to burn the vegetation or transport it as far, so it’s helping us reduce our emissions.”