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Zoo accepting meat donations from hunting season

November 18, 2018

SCOTTSBLUFF — Hunting season is here and one local organization is accepting help from their hunting neighbors.

Riverside Discovery Center uses fresh meat every day to feed the variety of large cats, raptors and other animals in its care. During hunting season, they can take game meat donations from hunters looking for a place to donate their bounty.

Deer, geese or other game animals are favorite treats of the animals and zoo staff are always willing to accept meat with a few conditions.

“It’s a huge help for us in the winter time,” said Anthony Mason, zoo director. “We still have to buy food and feed the animals even during the slower times.”

Hunters need to bring their tags and permit numbers with them.

“Any time we can get donations, it’s a huge help for us,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of donations so far, but we appreciate whatever is brought in.”

Meat brought in must be fresh, never frozen. If it has been frozen, it cannot have been thawed. It must be brought in frozen due to risks of bacteria and other potential dangers for the animals.

“That’s with any meat,” he said. “If it had been thawing for a long period of time, we need to make sure it’s sanitary and safe for the animals.”

Mason said it is preferred if the meat has been field dressed or quartered, but staff is qualified to do so on site if needed.

“We can do all of it here, but that adds time to our daily schedule,” he said.

Programs such as Hunters for the Hungry take some meat for food banks, but the zoo is another option for local hunters.

The zoo can take just about any kind of meat and the large animals will appreciate the variety of food over the winter.

“If someone is hunting and doesn’t know what to do with the meat, they can bring it to us,” Mason said.

For more information, contact Riverside Discovery Center at 308-630-6236.

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