Kansas Zoo has trouble feeding family of 900

Like other shoppers, Liz Harmon must cope with rising grocery prices. But Harmon has more than 900 mouths to feed.

The general curator at the Kansas City Zoo has seen her animal chow budget swell by nearly 43 percent in the last two years to where it is now more than $375,000 a year. Granted, the zoo has acquired an additional elephant during that time, but even she doesn’t eat that much.

The zoo's seven elephants together do consume 715 pounds of grain pellets, hay and produce each day, and the pellets have risen 13 percent in cost just since January while hay is up 7 percent.

So far this year, the price of bananas also has risen 31 percent — and zoo critters peel through 360 of them every week. The price for mice, medium size, is up 4 percent. Reptiles, birds of prey and some of the smaller cats eat those.

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