Animals at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo help with Christmas tree-cycling

Animals at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo help with Christmas tree-cycling

Animals at Chicago's Brookfield Zoo have been helping the staff there with an important task - recycling used Christmas trees.

Now that the holiday season is over, Brookfield Zoo’s Grounds staff is chipping more than 800 trees, which were decorated by community organisations, families, and corporations for their Holiday Magic events.

The mulch will be used for landscaping around the 235-acre park. However, as in past years, several dozen trees are being repurposed and given to animals for enrichment.

Hudson, a 16-year-old polar bear, received a tree adorned with some of his favourite vegetables and lard.

The zoo’s African lions - Brutus and Titus - also seemed to enjoy the raw meat hidden in the branches as well as the trees themselves, which were hung from bungee cords.

Animal care specialists placed bones as well as pig ears and snouts on the trees given to the African painted dogs. And, the zoo’s bison and reindeer used the trees to rub their horns and antlers on and even toss around.

Keepers are always thinking of ways to physically and mentally stimulate the animals at Brookfield Zoo.

One way is by providing them with enrichment items they normally do not receive on a regular basis, including the seasonal trees.