The two giant pandas at the famous Schönbrunn Zoo in Vienna receive special food, which is custom-made to best meet their needs, in addition to bamboo. In collaboration with the zoo, technology group Andritz is preparing raw bamboo for their special menu. Having begun in 2019, this collaboration has now been renewed.
Andritz machines process many different types of fibers in pulp and paper mills all over the world. In 2019, Schönbrunn Zoo reached out to Andritz with an unusual request: prepare raw bamboo for the “bamboo bread” that forms an important part of the pandas’ food, adding essential nutrients and energy. Andritz was happy to accept this challenge. Eveline Dungl, curator and animal trainer at the zoo, says: “The way Andritz dealt with our unusual request was exceptionally kind and professional.”
“The zoo pre-shreds the bamboo and we grind the material in special equipment, so-called dispersers, at our Fiber R&D Center in Graz,” explains Denis Jozic, Technology Manager at Andritz. “We have ground several batches of bamboo to the zoo’s full satisfaction – the giant pandas like their menu.” In fact, they like it so much that cooperation has continued, and the zoo has placed orders for specially prepared bamboo reaching well into the future.
“It always puts a smile on our faces at the Fiber R&D Center when we see the van from the zoo delivering the raw bamboo,” says Center Director Laura Liukkonen. “We generally receive a delivery of 500 kilos of bamboo, which we then manually feed into our conveyor. Everybody at the center lends a hand as we feed the bamboo through the disperser twice. We can certainly take on any task when it comes to refining raw materials, especially for such important customers as the giant pandas!”
Schönbrunn Zoo is not only famous for being the world’s oldest zoo but also for being one of the few zoos worldwide with giant pandas. This year, the zoo is celebrating 20 years of cooperation with the China Wildlife Conservation Association. Yang Yang, the female giant panda, has lived at the zoo since 2003 and during that time gave birth to five babies. Yuan Yuan, the male, arrived in Vienna in 2019.