Potawatomi Zoo and Indiana Michigan Power team up for new animal feeding program

NOW: Potawatomi Zoo and Indiana Michigan Power team up for new animal feeding program


SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Potawatomi Zoo and Indiana Michigan Power have teamed up for a new feeding program at the zoo.

The Branch to Browse program is an initiative that will donate fresh tree trimmings, branches, and twigs collected by I&M to feed the zoo animals every week.

I&M forestry crews will inspect and trim trees and brush near its power poles and lines and deliver approved trimmings, also known as browse, to the zoo. Crews have an approved list of tree species that can be sent to the animals.

A horticulturist at the Zoo will then inspect the browse and deliver them to the zoo’s residents.  

“Typically we as our staff would have to go into the community every day and cut this themselves. They go throughout the zoo, but there’s only so much browse you can find in the zoo,” said Josh Sisk, Potawatomi Zoo executive director.

Dozens of the zoo’s animals will benefit from the program including the its newest occupants, four giraffes, who arrive in October.

The partnership is estimated to reduce the Zoo’s annual food costs by approximately $200,000.

It will also support I&M’s forestry program, which aims to reduce and prevent tree-related power outages.

“I&M’s Branch to Browse Program is unique and essential to the multiple animals that call the Potawatomi Zoo home,” said Sisk. “Branches and tree trimmings from right here in our community will directly benefit the animals and we’re very appreciative of Indiana Michigan Power’s partnership to use its browse to feed the animals. The Branch to Browse Program is a perfect partnership to fill a need in our community at the Potawatomi Zoo.”

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