Zoo is 'PINE-ing for our help

Enjoying a Christmas tree
Enjoying a Christmas tree
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Belfast Zoo has issued an online appeal for families to donate their festive firs.

In a post on Facebook, Belfast Zoo asks people with real trees to think again before throwing it in the skip.

Enjoying an old Christmas tree - Belfast Zoo

Enjoying an old Christmas tree - Belfast Zoo

"You can donate your Christmas tree to Belfast Zoo to be used for animal enrichment purposes," says the post.

Zoo Manager, Alyn Cairns, said: “Enrichment is an essential part of providing the best care possible for our animals.

"Enrichment is used to encourage natural behaviours and to provide stimulation within their environments. Our team continually strive to develop new and innovative enrichment techniques.

"Our Asian elephants have pipes hidden in the sand which they have to put their trunks into to find their treats, the chimpanzees and gorillas love to play with old sheets and clothing, the big cats and bears enjoy sacks filled with a variety of scents and we also use artificial termite mounds for a number of our animals, including the giant anteaters and chimpanzees.”

He adds that Christmas trees "are extremely tactile, have a strong scent and can be used for the animals to sleep and shelter under".

"In fact, some of our animals even love to snack on them. We can use your trees for a range of species including our Barbary lions, elephants, apes, primates and birds. Nothing goes to waste as, after the trees have been used by the animals, we chip them down and use them to ‘spruce’ up the enclosures.”

If you would like to donate your tree, you can leave it at the drop-off point in the Belfast Zoo car park until 20 January 2019.

For more information call 028 9077 6277 or email info@belfastzoo.co.uk.