Belfast zoo has appealed for donations of real Christmas trees to be used for shelter and food foraging for their animals.
Any of the trees that are not used by the animals will be recycled into wood chippings for the enclosures.
The zoo appealed for donations on their website explaining that trees can be left at their designated drop-off area any time between Saturday January 1 and Monday January 3.
There is no charge to leave your tree, however, donations will be accepted in the Visitor Centre to support conservation projects.
Belfast Zoo posted on their website: “We will use donated trees for animal enrichment ranging from scent play to shelter and food foraging.
“Any excess Christmas trees which aren’t used by the animals will be recycled by chipping the trees. We can use tree chippings in zoo enclosures and as mulch for flower beds.”
Zoo manager, Andrew Hope, explained that the natural tree recycling scheme was first offered in January 2020.
“The trees provide our animals with a fantastic form of enrichment,” he said.
“Christmas trees are extremely tactile, have a strong scent and have a range of different uses depending on the animal.
“The meerkats love exploring and climbing through the branches whereas the Barbary lions enjoy the strong pine scent, and Asian elephants eat most of the tree.”
To donate your Christmas tree, go to the drop off in the zoo’s allocated area in the main car park on the available dates.
The family of elephants shake off the Christmas decorations (ZSL Whipsnade Zoo/PA)