Water Conservation at the Zoo

Conservation means different things to different people. In your home it may mean energy efficient light bulbs, reusable shopping bags, biking more, driving less or diligently recycling. At the Sacramento Zoo, conservation means all that and more, including breeding endangered species as a guard against extinction, supporting the preservation of wildlife and natural habitats, and educating others to become responsible stewards of the earth.  The Zoo is also constantly on the lookout for opportunities to conserve natural resources, including water, without taking away from the needs of Zoo animals. 

The Zoo is taking the news of the drought seriously and is following the city codes on water usage while still maintaining professional standards of care for the animals. Since the drought proclamation on January 17, the Zoo has reduced water usage by 20%. To cut water the Zoo has implemented a range of procedures which includes adjusting irrigation clocks to reduce the length of time the sprinklers run and only on water days. The Zoo has also switched to high efficiency irrigation hose nozzles that use 35% less water than traditional nozzles. Animal Care staff are conservative in the amount of water used for exhibit maintenance. Animal dens currently not in use are not being hosed down; dishes are cleaned in a sink of water instead of using running water. Also, any water line repairs needed are top priority; this includes leaking faucets, water pipe maintenance and water mister system maintenance for optimal use.  In addition, each Animal Care area (Primates, Carnivores, Birds, Reptiles, Hoof Stock and Interpretive Center) are examining their daily routines where more possible cuts can be made while keeping the Zoo’s high standards of care in place.

Even when there is not a drought the Zoo recognizes the importance of water conservation constantly looks for new ways to use water wisely. Some of the ways the Zoo conserves water on a regular basis are:
  • Most water displays use recirculating water systems
  • Carnivores and primates use Lixit® water systems that only deliver water to animals on demand
  • Hoofed animals use Nelson drinkers with automatic fills that ensure they always have water but makes sure the water does not overflow
  • The Lake exhibit uses a filter system so that it does not have to be drained and cleaned as often as it would without the filtration
  • Most exhibits are raked during cleaning instead of hosed down
You can learn how to better conserve water by visiting the Zoo for I Heart Sacramento Zoo on Sunday, February 9. Not only will guests get to see animals receive Valentine’s Day treats, Sacramento Zoo Teens will also provide interactive ways to discover how you can conserve water.  For more information visit the Sacramento Zoo’s website.

Giant Anteater taking a bath

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