Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica, Polygonum cuspidatum, Reynoutria japonica, etc. etc.!) is heading to the zoo! According to this article at EastBayRI.com, Rhode Island's Barrington Land Conservation Trust has made a deal with the Roger Williams Park Zoo: the BLCT cuts down all the herbicide-free knotweed they can find, and the zoo takes it to feed to their animals. In the past, the BLCT was sending all the knotweed to a landfill, so this seems like a win-win situation.
Roger Williams is not the only zoo taking advantage of this free invasive food source - the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, Massachusetts feeds Japanese knotweed to one of their giraffes. And while this may sound like an innovative new use for knotweed, some of the original introductions of Japanese and giant knotweed into the USA, back in the late 1800s, were actually for its use as a forage plant. This isn't the first time people have made a concerted effort to feed invasive species to zoo animals either - back in 2006 the ISW featured a story about an effort by researchers to turn carp into fishcakes for the St. Louis Zoo.