News Release

May 21, 2013



Contact: Sondra Katzen, Chicago Zoological Society




              Martha Swaney, ComEd





Note: Images of animals at Brookfield Zoo enjoying browse provided by ComEd may be downloaded at


ComEd Providing Springtime Snacks to Brookfield Zoo’s Animals

Trimming trees helps keep zoo animals fed while reducing power outages


            Brookfield, Ill.—As part of a partnership between ComEd and the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, the utility company is providing tree trimmings, or “browse” (leaves, twigs, and branches from trees and shrubs) as food for many of the zoo’s animals. The browse program began in 2011 and is now entering its third season.

ComEd trims approximately 9,000 miles of tree lines along 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.

 The company recycles 100 percent of tree trimmings each year, including its donation of up to 50 cubic yards weekly of approved plants and tree species such as sugar and silver maple, willow, grapevine, mulberry, box elder, honey locust, and alder. ComEd made its first drop off to the zoo today and will continue making deliveries twice a week through September. The browse is a great source of nutrition, as well as enrichment, for several species, including giraffes, gorillas and other primates, grizzly bears, kangaroos, okapi, rhinoceroses, camels, rock hyraxes, and tapirs.

 “We are thrilled to be able to continue this relationship with ComEd,” said Jennifer Watts, Ph.D., nutritionist for the Chicago Zoological Society. “Since the program began in 2011, the animals at Brookfield Zoo have benefited greatly from the browse added to their diet. We have seen an increase in their activity level, as well as an improvement in their gastrointestinal and dental health.”

“ComEd is committed to giving back to the communities where we live and work, and sharing our tree trimmings with our friends at Brookfield Zoo is a great way to nourish the animals and help teach families and visitors about conservation,” said Mike McMahan, ComEd vice president of Smart Grid and Technology. “The zoo browse program is a great way for ComEd to continue providing safe, reliable electric service to our customers while benefiting the community and the environment at the same time.”


About ComEd

Commonwealth Edison Company (ComEd) is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC), the nation’s leading competitive energy provider, with approximately 6.6 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.


About the Chicago Zoological Society

The Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, inspires conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located off First Avenue between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA, and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


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