Behind the Scenes: Smithsonian's National Zoo

The Smithsonian recently produced a behind-the-scenes YouTube video with Mike Maslanka, head nutritionist at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, as he talks about what it takes to feed 2,000 animals from 400 different species 365 days a year. Each animal receives a diet specially designed by National Zoo nutritionists that not only meets their nutrient needs but also encourages them to employ their natural feeding behaviors.

The Zoo’s Commissary is one of world’s largest zoo commissaries and is about half an acre in size. In all, 13 people make up the Zoo’s nutrition team. Two members of the team are certified nutritionists. Of all 220 zoo members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, only 11 have nutritionists, and the National Zoo has two! But that’s not the only thing that sets the Zoo apart. The National Zoo is also the only zoo that makes all of its own hay, which is grown at CRC.

Be sure to check out some of the other great videos on the Smithsonian channel on YouTube.

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