Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens overwhelmed with Christmas tree donations
Animals at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens have been enjoying sniffing, scratching and scrambling on pine trees thanks to an overwhelming number of Christmas tree donations from the general public and local nurseries.
In December, the zoo put out a call for used Christmas trees to be donated to provide enrichment for the animals.
Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens houses over 200 species of animals including the critically endangered cotton-top tamarin and the endangered Goeldi’s monkey.
Steven Sykes, Animal Centre Manager at Kirkley Hall Zoological Gardens said: “The response has been fantastic, we have received over 300 trees and the keepers are putting them to very good use.”
At this time of year, the trees feature heavily in the zoo’s enrichment programme which is designed to stimulate a range of natural behaviours in the animals.
Apprentice Keeper, Mark Tabone said: “The trees are like a ready-made enrichment device. The natural texture, shape and scent of the trees lend themselves to a whole range of enrichment applications for the animals.
“Sometimes we use the trees to hide food or combine them with other stimulants, but for many of the animals the trees alone are enough to stimulate natural behaviours.”
Animal Keeper, Rachel Chapman added: “Enrichment plays a very important role in captive animal care. Using the trees to hide their feed makes the lemurs work for their food rather than placing it in a bowl for example.”