Since 2010, the ComEd/Chicago Zoological Society browse program has brought primates, carnivores, marsupials, and hoofed animals across Brookfield Zoo a summer full of tasty and nutritious fare.
ComEd trims approximately 9,000 miles of tree lines along its transmission and distribution facilities in northern Illinois each year, an investment of more than $60 million annually to improve electric reliability and reduce power outages caused by tree contact with overhead wires. ComEd recycles 100 percent of these tree trimmings each year, including its donation to the Zoo of up to 50 cubic yards per week of approved plants and tree species.
Referred to as "browse," the leaves, twigs, and branches from sugar and silver maple, willow, grapevine, mulberry, box elder, honey locust, and alder trees and shrubs serve as food for the hungry zoo animals. The browse is a great source of nutrition for several species, including giraffes, gorillas, grizzly bears, kangaroos, okapi, rhinoceroses, camels, rock hyraxes, and tapirs.