Members from HMAS Watson turned trash into treasure recently by donating unused battle ropes, tyres and logs to animals at Taronga Zoo.
The donation was part of the base’s initiative to minimise waste and become leaders in waste reduction and sustainability.
The delighted zookeepers said the equipment played an important part in providing enrichment activities, which were essential for the health and wellbeing of animals in captivity.
Most enrichment items are food-focused, but others can be used for play, housing or sensory stimulation.
Marine keeper Steph Kula explained how her favourite resident, Charlie the 300kg Australian sea lion bull, used items like the new tyre donated by Watson.
“We will place numerous frozen fish inside a tyre. This is used for food-based and cognitive enrichment and allows him to display various foraging behaviours,” Ms Kula said.
“He is a powerful lad so the fact that the tyres are very strong and durable allows Charlie to manipulate and thrash the items without destroying them.”
Petty Officer Jessica Fisher said she was thrilled to donate to the cause and hoped it wouldn’t be the last time Watson contributed to the zoo.
“I am so grateful that we could be a part of turning our trash into their treasure and we will continue to help them,” she said.
“The tyres went to the marine animals and lions, the ropes to the monkeys, and the logs were being used to set up numerous activities in all enclosures.
“It was a great opportunity to make some new relationships and minimise waste at Watson at the same time. I hope we can continue to recycle some of our waste this way.”
Attention at Watson is now turning to a new initiative to compost food waste for surrounding green spaces.