Vitamix has a loyal following, but no one is a bigger fan of Vitamix than the chimps at Oakland Zoo. When these primates see the blender come out, they know they’re in for a treat.
Oakland Zoo is managed by the Conservation Society of California, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wildlife both locally and globally. The zoo is home to over 750 native and exotic animals – from African Elephants, to American Black Bears, to the Chimpanzees.
Stacy Kyles, Commissary Supervisor, and Dannielle Stith, Primate Keeper, are the chefs behind the tasty treats that Oakland Zoo residents enjoy.
"I originally got the Vitamix for myself to start eating healthier, and that’s when we had the idea to bring it to work and make smoothies for the chimps and baboons,” said Kyles.
Just like people, primates love a sweet smoothie on a summer day – fruit is a high-value treat for them. The chimps at Oakland Zoo are also treated to popsicles and vegetable soup made right in the Vitamix machine – and just like most people, they really like the noodles in the soup more than the vegetables. The Vitamix blender allows the employees of Oakland Zoo to make sure their animals are getting proper nutrients, all while giving them a meal they love to eat.
“One of the biggest advantages to working with the Vitamix machine is that the motor is going to hold up. We’ve worked with other blenders in the past and we burnt out the motors,” said Stith. “We love that there’s minimal chopping or prep work that needs to be done, and that the Vitamix is durable and can handle three or four times what a normal blender could.”
It’s not just the primates that benefit from the Vitamix – other zoo residents like the Island Flying Fox, or fruit bats, have favorite mixtures of their own.
“The fruit bats will really eat any fruit we put in the Vitamix,” explained Kyles. “We’ll use pears, apples, grapes, overripe stone fruit or we’ll even make avocado pops. They love yellow – starfruit and bananas are favorites.”
Kyles and Stith are constantly inspired to find new uses for their Vitamix machine, like blending whole fish and making frozen balls for the North American River Otters to enjoy – both as a treat, and a toy.
“We like to feed our animals products from the Vitamix because it’s an enrichment for them,” said Stith. “Not only is it nutritious, but it will prolong the feeding experience and give them something to do for the day.”
The Vitamix blender isn’t just used to make treats at Oakland Zoo – it’s an imperative tool for distressed animals’ diets. The Vitamix produces meals for animals with dental problems or others who can’t have solid foods, ensuring they’re getting the nutrients they need.
“Vitamix makes our job easier every day,” said Stith. “We don’t have a lot of time, and Vitamix allows us to do something special for the animals.”