News Release

Contact: Sondra Katzen, Brookfield Zoo, 708.688.8351,
              Linsey Godbey, ComEd, 312.394.8342,
September 19, 2016
Note: Images of animals at Brookfield Zoo enjoying browse provided by ComEd may be downloaded below.
Browse Program- storage bags
Browse Program- goats
Browse Program- rhino 1
Browse Program- rhino 2
Browse Program- rhino 3
Browse Program- gorilla
Browse Program- giraffe
Browse Program- kangaroo
Browse Program- polar bear 


Animals at Brookfield Zoo Continue to Benefit from ComEd Browse Program

            Brookfield, Ill.—After more than 150 truck deliveries consisting of over 2,100 cubic yards, the collaborative browse program between the Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, and ComEd, one of the zoo’s sponsors, is still going strong.

The browse program, which began six years ago, has been advantageous for both organizations. Rather than mulching the browse—leaves, twigs, and branches from trees—the electric company delivers it to the zoo for the animals. In turn, the animals greatly benefit from the nutritional value and enrichment the browse provides.

“We are very appreciative to ComEd for their efforts in providing the browse for our animals at Brookfield Zoo. The Society’s Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare combines all disciplines in the Animal Programs Department, including the Nutrition Program. Having the browse as part of the animals’ diets has been a great addition and very beneficial to them,” said Bill Zeigler, senior vice president of animal programs for CZS.
Since 2011, from late spring to mid-fall, ComEd’s designated zoo crew makes two deliveries each week of 20 to 25 cubic yards of browse per truckload. The browse is from trees that are trimmed along overhead power lines located throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. The zoo’s staff nutritionist has provided ComEd with a list of approved plant and tree species. However, the animals’ favorites seem to be willow, mulberry, honey locust, and maple.

“The animals benefit in several ways from browse,” said Jennifer Watts, Ph.D., director of nutrition for CZS. “One is that it provides good dental health because the animals are able to chew on the branches, which helps release some of the tarter on their teeth. Additionally, it encourages natural behavior and provides enrichment.” For instance, gerenuks stand on their hind legs to reach for the leaves and the orangutans spend time peeling the bark off the branches.

The deliveries stop towards the end of October before beginning again in the spring. In order to provide browse to the animals year-round, staff found a way to preserve the nutritional value so that many of the species can enjoy it even during the winter months. Staff has been vacuum sealing the browse and freezing it until it is ready to be eaten.

“Our team loves working on a program that directly benefits our friends and neighbors at Brookfield Zoo,” said Emily Kramer, manager of vegetation management, ComEd. “Trimming the trees around power lines improves customers’ reliability, and being able to provide healthy fare to so many animals makes this program a win-win. We’re proud to be a part of this continued partnership that is helping to educate families about the importance of conserving our natural resources.”

As a part of its ongoing reliability program, ComEd trims trees along its high-voltage distribution circuits on a four-year cycle. The company trims approximately 9,000 miles of tree line each year. Additionally, ComEd performs targeted tree trimming between regularly scheduled maintenance to enhance reliability on sections that have higher incidences of outages caused by trees.
About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire 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 Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. 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
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 10 million customers. ComEd provides service to approximately 3.8 million customers across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit, and connect with the company on FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

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Sondra Katzen
Director of Public Relations
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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