Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — Dozens of leftover Christmas trees have turned into special treats for Oakland Zoo animals. Right after the holiday season wrapped up, zoo staff received a call from a local tree lot hoping to donate a truckload of trees. Zookeepers were eager to accept the extras as they use the saplings in a variety of ways.
The small pine trees turn into sticky snacks for animals such as the giraffes, zebras, camels, and goats to enjoy. For baboons and otters, zookeepers place goodies among the tree branches for the animals to find. It’s a game of smell and seek that many creatures seem to relish. “The Christmas trees provide our zoo animals with a unique seasonal enrichment,” said Colleen Kinzley, Director of Animal Care at Oakland Zoo. “Animals in the wild encounter different plants and flowers at different times of the year; the Christmas trees and other items allow use to replicate that seasonal variety. Some of the hoof stock animals enjoy browsing on the trees, while other animals may use them as toys or furniture.”
These trees are a form of enrichment zookeepers strive to give all animals at Oakland Zoo. Squirrel monkeys enjoy swinging and hanging around in the noble firs, and they treat the firs like new furniture in their exhibit. During this time of year, tree donations provide a seasonal delight for the animals to explore, experience, and smell in their exhibits. Guests may see the animals enjoying the seasonal tree treats daily from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
***Media Advisory: On Thursday, January 8 from 11:00am – 12:30pm, video and photo opportunities of animals feasting on trees will be available. Please contact Nicky Mora at (510) 632-9525, ext 130 if you plan on attending. Media should meet at the Zoo by 10:45am, under the Oakland Zoo sign at the Main Entrance of the Zoo.*** 11:00am: Hyenas 11:30pm: Meerkats 11:45pm: Elephants 12:15pm: Baboons
Oakland Zoo would like to thank Crystal River Christmas Trees in Alameda for donating their leftover trees to the Zoo animals.
ANIMAL ENRICHMENT: Animal enrichment items (special play toys, unique scents, or food treats) are a valuable asset to all zoos. Not only do they provide the exercise that all animals need, but they also help to keep the animals active, engaged, and foraging in natural behaviors. While visiting Oakland Zoo, guests may see firsthand how the animals interact with various enrichment items. Oakland Zoo does accept animal enrichment donations. For a complete list of items people can donate, go to: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Donate_Goods.php
ABOUT OAKLAND ZOO: The Bay Area’s award-winning Oakland Zoo is home to more than 660 native and exotic animals. The Zoo offers many educational programs and kid’s activities perfect for science field trips, family day trips and exciting birthday parties. Nestled in the Oakland Hills, in 500-acre Knowland Park, the Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road, off Highway 580. The East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo) is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization supported in part by members, contributions, the City of Oakland and the East Bay Regional Parks. For more information please visit our website at http://www.oaklandzoo.org.