Penrith plants feeding Western Sydney Zoo animals

Penrith plants feeding Western Sydney Zoo animals

Penrith Council has teamed up with the Sydney Zoo in Western Sydney for an innovative project involving the collection of branches and shrubs containing leaves, barks and shoots from both native plant and weed species to provide additional snacks for the zoo’s animals. Council is the first council to donate weeds found in their Local Government Area. 

Since April 2020, our Bushland Management team has been donating suitable native and target weed species to Sydney Zoo for the animals to enjoy. The supplies are carefully selected and are disease and pesticide free — and the animals have been enjoying an extra healthy snack. 

Since the partnership commenced, we are providing approximately 25 tonnes of plant material a year to Sydney Zoo’s elephants, giraffes, camels, zebras and red pandas. The Asian elephants consume almost a tonne of plants weekly! The fresh plants donated by Council provides important nutritional and enrichment components of the diets to several of Sydney Zoo’s animals. 

Removing weeds is crucial in maintaining our natural bushland areas and increasing the health of the sensitive vegetation communities within Penrith. The Zoo has been delighted with the help from Council and the local community in feeding their animals. Sydney Zoo attained a permit under the Biosecurity Act to ensure that they could harvest from a priority weed. 

If you’d like to donate your weeds, all you have to do is contact Council’s Bushland Management team with your details and the Zoo’s zookeepers will arrange to pick your weeds up right from your kerbside. Please email us at

The images below were taken by Council's Bushland Management team and Sydney Zoo's staff.

 resized 20210124 112406 An elephant wearing cut weeds on its head.  A group of camels enjoying eating weeds.