A kind person pointed out to me that in my last post, Do as I say, not as I do, I not only had a hard day, but also wasted water. Of all the things that happened to me on Christmas, overflowing the muskrat pool was devastating to me. With that said, I cannot take back what happened, but I can share with you the changes we have made in our procedures over the past few months to help save water. Some of these changes have no negative implications on our practices or animals, while others have minor short-term costs that the Keepers and I feel are worth it to save water during our extreme drought.
Instead of watering the trees in Carolina Wildlife with a hose, we use the water that we take out of our aquariums when we change the water. Changing water in our fish environments is necessary for the health of the fish. We used to do this to our trout stream daily, but have gone to 3 days/week and test the water weekly. If our water quality remains good, we’ll look to drop our water changes to once/week and save even more water. Additionally, the buckets of water that we rinse our produce in after cleaning are also used for watering trees and cleaning cutting boards. We do much more cleaning with buckets now than with hoses, which is saving water too.
We’ve made changes in the farmyard too. Since our pig is allergic to hay, he’s needed to be on blankets, especially at this time of year to keep in warm. We’ve tried lots of things, but blankets are the way to go. Duck likes to poop on pig’s blankets, which meant we had to hose the blankets everyday. In order to conserve water, we’ve separated pig and duck at night to help keep the blankets clean. Both animals seem to be adjusting just fine to their new routine. The water in the pig and duck pool is left in if still clean. Water that can safely be reused from drinking receptacles is. We’re also looking into automatic waterers.
Out in Explore the Wild, we let the bears stay in their exhibit at night: this saves us having to hose clean the bear house everyday (although now there is a lot of poop to scoop up in the exhibit). The water in the bear and wolf exhibit is recirculating, so we’re not losing much water there. We usually drain and clean each of these water features after autumn, but have decided to wait until our water situation is better. We’re talking about changes we can make in our indoor lemur housing as well to help us hose less.
I’m sure I’m forgetting some other changes we’ve made: maybe a Keeper can add to this list in the “comment” section. We’ve done a lot, and we continue to think of ways we can conserve water and still provide the best care we can to our animals.