Local companies helping to feed Murphy the giraffe
PPL Electric Utilities’ tree trimming program provides more reliable electric service for its customers.
And now, it also helps feed Murphy, the Lehigh Valley Zoo’s Masai giraffe.
Under a partnership between the utility and the zoo, Jaflo Inc., one of PPL’s tree contractors, is making deliveries of cut branches, also called browse, which the zoo uses to feed Murphy, the 16-year-old giraffe it acquired recently.
The zoo could not be more grateful to PPL and Jaflo.
Masai giraffe can weigh over 2,500 pounds and eat 16 to 20 hours a day and, since browse is one of their favorite foods, their contribution is certainly welcome.
Among all his nutritional choices, Murphy is particularly fond of his browse.
He receives a good portion of his water intake through the browse and lettuce that he eats and it is also an important enrichment for Murphy.
Animal care staff will hang branches high up in his barn and entwine them through special feeders that keep him interested, active and engaged.
There are also health benefits to eating browse.
Giraffes, like cows, sheep and goats, are ruminants.
“Eating browse encourages chewing and rumination by Murphy,” veterinarian Dr. Scott Rosenbloom explains. “Having such a great supply of browse readily available helps keeps his complex digestive system running smoothly and efficiently.”
PPL trims and removes trees along thousands of miles of its power lines each year to help maintain reliable service.
Since trees are the top cause of storm-related power outages, the work is extremely important.
Instead of ending up in a chipper, some of the smaller branches taken down in the Lehigh Valley area will provide nutrition for Murphy.
“This is something unique for PPL and it’s something we, along with Jaflo, are really excited to be part of,” Aaron Dom, manager of PPL’s vegetation management program said. “Environmental stewardship can take many forms. Here, providing food for a giraffe is crossing paths with our core mission of providing reliable power.”
PPL and Jaflo started providing browse to the zoo late last summer and will continue to bring the material in as the zoo needs it.
The vast majority of the kinds of trees trimmed by Jaflo for PPL can be used to feed the giraffe.