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  • Ben Smith

"Food with a Story" helps save Baby Pygmy Elephants

Updated: Dec 11, 2019


Recently I had the privilege to have an extended time with a very good friend of mine who has put immense effort into saving a group of Pygmy Elephants and their associated wild-life in Indonesia.

Having spent my life feeding and working with young animals on the farm, watching my own family grow up rearing young lambs and calves and employing farm employees to manage this I have realized that sitting back and reviewing animal behavior can stimulate some interesting conclusions.

Deb asked me over 12 months ago when they were having trouble getting these young elephants to feed if it would be worth feeding New Zealand Milk powder to them. My reply as a simple farmer wanting to see our products sold on the international stage was of course yes. Well to cut a long story short after trialing 5 different international milk powders Debbie watched the young elephants prefer New Zealand Milk Powder over any other, in fact they would only take New Zealand Milk Powder!

Now as a farmer I was extremely proud of these young elephants, but as a scientist I wondered why?

Recently my research has given me some invaluable insights into why milk is different from different areas of the world. It all comes down to diet. Milk fed cows produce grass fed milk powder and I can go into as much detail as you want but it all comes down to the fact by feeding our cows grass we have a different product just like a wine from California tastes different to a wine from New Zealand.

Understanding that link of association has helped these mainly grass eating young to grow and flourish, but like all good environment forums in order to grow and maintain an environment that brings these animals back for extension we need to engage with some well known New Zealand technology of rotational grazing and the electric fence in order to help this community live in harmony with their native animals and benefit from the eco-tourism trade of our countries. Come and join us on our ventures to take Kiwi food to the world and Kiwi innovation to the pockets of our countries valuable consumers.


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