One man’s trash is an animal’s enrichment toy…
Millions of Christmas trees are tossed to the curb after the holidays, but they can serve another purpose – enrichment toys for animals at zoos and sanctuaries.
Once all the decorations and lights are removed, the evergreens make fun toys for large animals. The enticing scent and texture of the trees make them great scratching posts and food puzzles.
Brookfield Zoo in Illinois recently recycled their festive trees by giving them to their resident reindeer, bison, big cats, and polar bear. The staff captured all the animals interacting with the trees and shared the footage on social media.
“Everyone at Brookfield Zoo likes their tree enrichment a little differently. The bison love flipping them up in the air. The reindeer rub their antlers on them. And for Hudson polar bear, it’s a meat-filled puzzle to be solved,” posted the zoo on Instagram.
The zoo is making sure all the animals are staying happy and healthy with an array of enrichment activities, so no two days are the same.
In a separate video, two male lions were given recycled trees suspended by bungee cords to allow them to pounce and attack the trees like prey.
Their trees had meat ornaments and were sprinkled with cardamon to entice the large carnivores and stimulate their senses.
The videos have been viewed by thousands of people who are enjoying seeing the animals during the zoo’s “hibernation”. The zoo is currently closed to the public but hopes to reopen in the spring. In the meantime, they will continue to post videos and photos of all the animals to brighten everyone’s day.
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Animals of all sizes enjoy destroying recycled trees.
Goats enjoy dismantling Christmas trees branch by branch as one zoo fan wrote, “Loved to watch my goats strip the Christmas tree branches and all right down to the trunk! Playing with it wasn’t an option.”
As you can see, old Christmas trees bring great joy to animals, so please donate yours to a local zoo or animal sanctuary.
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