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Bamboo at the Zoo October 11, 2021

In our garden, bamboos are important for several reasons. As a collection garden, we present many species and varieties, some which have a very high decorative value, and others are grown as food for animals such as the red panda.

Many people might not know this, but bamboos, even though they can grow several meters tall, in some cases even as tall as a house, are actually grasses. They belong to the family of grasses just like the plants growing on lawns and pastures. About a thousand species are known, of which about 140 are winter-hardy species.

Our botanical garden presents many species and varieties of these plants, but bamboos in our garden are important not only as specimens in our collection, but also for their decorative value. The placement of our animals within the botanical garden is largely geographically distributed, for example the enclosures of animals native to Asia require a habitat and structure characteristic of bamboos for effectively echoing their natural habitats. To emphasize how important this is, we need only remember that there is a separate area within the science of zookeeping that deals with the horticultural habitat of animals.

In addition, we also grow bamboo as food, as these plants are the number one feed for our red pandas. Last year, we set up a quickly-sprouting and fast-growing feed plantation for the pandas in our background areas. This way we can feed them with our own fresh bamboo.

We have other bamboo-related plans as well. As a part of development efforts, we will be adding a new area for showcasing our variety of bamboo species next to the Great Ape house right after the autumn break (i.e. at the beginning of November). This will evoke the natural habitat of the orangutans housed here. We would like to request your patience and understanding in advance for the work, demolition, digging, and smaller temporary closures related to the bamboo presentation area.

Although news about our institution is mainly to do with animals, as we are not only a zoo but also a botanical garden, we believe it is important to report regularly about what's new with our rich collection of plants. In recent weeks, for example, we had some news on our grand crinum lilies, bromeliads, and swamp hibiscuses.

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