צילום: ריקי חן
Environmental sustainability is central to the Zoo’s philosophy and in 2008 a “Green Team” was established under the leadership of Dr. Nili Avni-Magen, our Zoological Director. The team reviews zoo protocols to ensure that they comply with the international motto:
RRR – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse
Public awareness is reinforced when visitors observe the Zoo’s green practices: waste collected is separated; organic compost is made by mixing animal manure with discarded plant materials (you can pick up some Zoo Doo in our shop); solar panels provide a third of electricity needs; a water purification facility allows the reuse of waste water for gardening; the “wetlands" system is used for exhibits - water is filtered and cleaned as it flows through the vegetation thus reducing the need for water replacement; branches pruned from edible plants are dispersed to the animals as an enriched food source; unused branches and leaves cover flowerbeds to retain humidity; the public is encouraged to use public transportation with admission discounts; and our shop serves as a battery recycling center for visitors.
In addition, the staff endeavor to reduce driving in the Zoo by increasing the efficiency of vehicle required tasks from all parts of the Zoo such as the security, veterinary and maintenance departments. This also increases visitor enjoyment by reducing vehicle traffic and improving air quality and child safety. Energy conservation reduction in terms of using less fossil fuel, electricity and water is also a major goal. Rainwater collection apparatus has been installed throughout the Zoo and water meters monitor water consumption at each exhibit. All new construction is environmentally sustainable. Protocols have been put in place for effective and less wasteful cleaning practices and people are reminded to take responsibility for their actions – for example, stickers have been placed at all faucets reminding staff and visitors to avoid leaving behind leaking/dripping taps.
One of the most recent initiatives was the installation of a green roof on the rhino house in the African Savannah exhibit. This type of roof is covered with vegetation to absorb rainwater, provide insulation, create a habitat for wildlife, and lower the urban air temperature. The installation of this green roof was a practice run in advance of the much larger green roof that will cover the new Aquarium facility in due course.