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Zoo Denizens Nosh Happily on Meinecke Project Leftovers

Elephants, camels and others enjoy a repast of fresh greens lost to controversial sewer rebuild.

Even if you're one of those most unhappy with the , we hope this will bring a small smile to your face.

The City of Wauwatosa is donating tree trimmings from the project to the , where six different species of animals, some rather exotic to these parts, are munching on them away with gusto.

The loss of street trees has been among the most contentious of outcomes in the $15 million Meinecke Project. And no wonder. The prospect of is heartbreaking.

But for some area herbivores, the prospect of a meal of fresh greens, as opposed to dry hay, is like a visit to the farmers market. And for zookeepers, anything fresh and healthy that their animals enjoy is one less dinner they have to pay for.

Tree trimmings from the project were donated to the Zoo to provide valuable nutrition to animals including giraffes, moose, camels and elephants.

Ponderous pachyderms Brittany and Ruth were particularly pleased to get a heaping helping of maple cuttings from the Menomonee River Parkway.

As anyone who loves pancakes knows, maple trees are especially efficient at packing away sugars. They are, in fact, elephant candy.

Several years ago, the Zoo began a campaign to clear an overgrowth of maple in its extensive woodlands. It wasn't long before zookeepers learned that the fresh green slash was a foodie rave to their largest tenants.

It isn't clear that elephants, anyway, love locust or green ash, the other two tree species most prevalent in the path of the project.

But if they and other animals disdain it, the cuttings will not go to waste – they'll find their way to the city composting program, to be ground up and transformed into organic soil amendments.

Waste not, want not.

But the fact that at least some of the loss of greenery is going to an extra good cause has city employees grinning.

"The elephants really love it," said Deor Hitt, an adminstrative assistant in the Development Department. "We did something good."

TJ Monday June 21, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Meinecke Sewer Project (The Hell-bound Drain.) City employees are happy, they should feel guilty. The elephants are happy, they should get trimmings from every source at every opportunity, not just a media event sponsored by a now, oh so sensitive and kind City administration. Just an obvious PR job by the City to salve the savage wounds inflicted on an innocent group of residents and and the throbbing conscience of some of the workers of an overreaching City administration. Insult to injury.
alt ideas needed June 24, 2012 at 02:09 PM
well that is good, those animals might have starved if they didn't get the trees from the meinecke sewer project.

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