SALEM TOWNSHIP, WAYNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) – The holidays are over, and you’re probably wondering what to do with your live Christmas tree. Before dumping it on the curb or tracking down a recycling program, consider giving it to the zoo.
When the sleepy lions woke up, there was a big surprise waiting for them.
“They got very excited, they love new things like that,” smiles Pamela Zoglino, head zookeeper.
Then, it’s the snow leopards’ turn. After some investigating, one curious cat decided to chomp on the tree. “Which is unusual, yeah, he took a couple bites out of it,” laughs Zoglino.
Next stop, the pig pen.
Zookeepers hid apples in the tree, which made for some very happy hogs.
“Anything we can do to make their lives more interesting or exciting, we love the trees,” Zoglino adds.
Claws ‘N’ Paws Wild Animal Park near Lake Ariel is closed for the season, so its residents don’t see much activity in the wintertime. Employees like to reward them with treats.
“It’s awesome. We really look forward to this time of year,” explains Jackie Crozier, zookeeper.
Every year, the trees are donated by area businesses and residents after Christmas. Just make sure there’s no paint, lingering decorations, or ornaments.
“We love when people donate their trees. We already got probably about a dozen trees already and we are so thankful. The animals are very thankful,” Crozier says.
Each animal has a different reaction. Some sniff the trees, while others mark their territory or rub on it. And for the cats, it’s a giant scratching post.
“Nobody ever knows what to do with their trees once Christmas is over, besides throw them down the hill or on the side of the road for someone else to pick up. So, we ask them to bring them to the zoo because it may be an old tree to you, but it’s a new tree to the animals,” Zoglino explains.
One man’s trash, another animals treat.
If you’d like to donate a tree to Claws ‘N’ Paws, just drop it off in the parking lot near the gift shop any day between 10 am and 4:30 pm. Zookeepers say they’ll post pictures and videos to Facebook, so you can watch the animals enjoying your generosity.
They also do this with pumpkins after Halloween.