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Zoo Does Its Part to Support Pollinators

Zookeepers inspect the hive, looking for eggs and honey production.

Posted July 2021

Pollinators such as birds, butterflies, and bees play a critical role in the global ecosystem. Pollination, the act of moving pollen within and between flowers, allows plants to be fertilized and results in healthy fruit and viable seeds. Most of the world’s seed-bearing plants must be pollinated to survive, including most of the crops grown worldwide. Without pollination, humans wouldn’t be able to grow the food we need to survive.

One way the Zoo supports pollinators is by managing an active beehive. Established two years ago and located next to the former Dall sheep habitat, the hive is used as an educational tool to teach visitors about the importance of pollinators.

Zookeepers monitor the number of bees that live in the hive.

A team of zookeepers inspect the hive every two weeks, checking for eggs, larvae, and honey production. They monitor the number of bees making their homes in the hive and add extra boxes to the hive when more space is needed. In the spring and fall, when food can become scarce, the team feeds the bees sugar water. Zookeepers report that the hive is currently thriving.

Although pollinators across the globe currently face many threats, there are some easy steps we can take in our own lives to support pollinators. Planting native plants is one of the best ways to support pollinators, since local pollinator populations require plants native to an area to thrive in the wild. We can also take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce habitat loss due to climate change by doing simple things like buying locally grown produce and organic food, walking or using public transportation when possible, and reducing our consumption, and recycling.