Every day we provide a wide variety of food to our animal residents. While some of this food is easily purchased, some is a bit harder to find. One of these hard-to-find foods is called browse.
Browse is fresh leaves, twigs, and branches of specific trees and shrubs that are eaten by leaf-eating herbivores like elephants, apes, giraffe, and warthogs.
Not only does browse provide animals nutrition, but it also provides enrichment through the opportunity to engage in natural eating and foraging behaviors.
Would you like to help provide browse to the animals? Below is a list of the different plant species approved by our veterinarians and animals. If you happen to be trimming a tree or shrub that is on our list, we might be interested in picking up the branches or having you drop them off at the Zoo! Please read the Frequently Asked Questions below to help determine if your trimmings are something we can use.
Pick-up only available within 10 miles of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.
Species We May Accept:
Possibly! Send a photo to our e-mail address and we can try to identify the species.
We are looking for whole branches. Usually, we feed browse by hanging branches up for the animals to consume – small, chopped pieces are difficult to manage. If we are coming to your property to pick up limbs, we will bring tools to cut branches smaller if needed, so feel free to leave those limbs big!
Sometimes even three or four big branches from a tree will make a great meal. If we are picking up from several locations in a day, we can collect smaller amounts from a few stops. If you are delivering to us, we are happy to take even a few decent sized branches. When in doubt, send us an e-mail.
Unfortunately, we cannot. We are not licensed tree trimmers and cannot take on the liability for either harming your tree or property damage that could occur because of falling branches. Likewise, all browse is collected and fed out by our animal keepers, and they do not have sufficient time in the day to trim.
We cannot take any trees or plants that have been treated with a pesticide, even an organic one, as it may be harmful to the animals.
We are looking for fresh branches with the leaves still on.
If it is an evergreen species with the foliage still on, yes please! If they are just bare branches, unfortunately, we cannot use them.
We only use/feed out branches. Sometimes we have a need for tree trunks or large limbs for propping animal enclosures, but this is secondary to browse collection and we cannot guarantee that we can take large pieces. If you are cutting a whole tree, we are quite happy to pick up as many branches with leaves as we can load (if you are close by, we can make a few trips) but we are not able to clean up and dispose of a whole tree and may not always be able to take everything you trim.
As sad as it is to let a good tree go, we can only pick-up browse donations from within a 10 mile radius of the Zoo. If it is possible for you to deliver, we certainly welcome your donation!
We ask that you please always contact us by email and wait for confirmation before bringing us a delivery. We appreciate your donation and want to make sure we have staff available to unload it.
There are several reasons we may not be able to accept a browse donation. Your tree may have been turned down because it is not on our list – usually because it is toxic to our animals. There may also be occasions when we get so many trees donated that we simply cannot accommodate them all and must turn donations away. Thank you for thinking of us and taking your time to try and help, we are sorry we could not accept your donation.
It takes us some time to process trees that are donated. They must be sorted, cleaned, and then delivered to the appropriate section of the Zoo depending on which species of animals will be eating them. This means you will not be able to see your donation used right then or help us feed it out, but you can be certain that the only ones who appreciate your donation more than keepers are the very happy and well-fed animals – all thanks to you!
Yes! Tax deduction receipts are available upon request.