Belfast Zoo says thank you for all the 'tree-mendous' donations
BELFAST Zoo says it has been "overwhelmed" by the hundreds of Christmas trees donated by householders which will be used to help improve the animals' environment.
The zoo put out a call for donations of unwanted natural Christmas trees which have been used for snacks and in the animal enclosures.
Zoo curator Raymond Robinson said Christmas trees were a "great form of enrichment for many of the animals".
"They are extremely tactile, have a strong scent, can be used for the animals to sleep and shelter under and are also a good snack for some of the larger animals," he said.
"The festive firs have already started to be used around the Cave Hill site and will be given to a variety of animals including the big cats, elephants, apes, primates and birds.
"When the animals have finished with the trees, they will be chipped down into bark to 'spruce' up the animal enclosures.
"It’s been great to see the public get behind the project and it’s fantastic that our visitors are able to say that their tree went straight from their living room to the elephant enclosure."
Zoo manager Alyn Cairns said they had been "absolutely overwhelmed by the support" from the public.
"Several hundred trees were donated and are already being put to good use," he said.
"Enrichment is used to encourage natural behaviours and to provide stimulation within the animal’s environment.
"Our keepers work on producing innovative enrichment techniques for all of the species that we care for."