Cape May County Zoo Accepting Live Christmas Trees for Animals
By Melanie Zayas, SNJ Today Reporter
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE, N.J. -
Many of us know that kids love Christmas with the joy of finding special gifts under the tree, but the actual tree can be a gift in and of itself for some local zoo animals.
Now that all the gifts under the tree have been opened, the Cape May County Zoo is hoping that you will re-gift your tree to bring their animals some post-holiday joy.
Jennifer Berg, supervising animal keeper with the Cape May County Zoo, says it’s really similar to kids getting gifts at Christmas.
“Our bison like to hook them and headbutt them, that’s a natural play behavior for them and then our lions act like their natural prey," said Berg. "They pick them up, run them across the yard, and start tearing the branches off.”
The lions also have an added incentive, with an emphasis on scent.
“The lions are big scent markers so a lot of the times besides loving that evergreen scent we’ll also spray their trees with cologne or perfume,” said Berg.
Zoo officials have found the trees bring joy to the animals and visitors alike.
“They always love when they see more interaction with the animals, whether the keeps are around and they see the animals interact with us or whether they see enrichment that gives out to animals such as Christmas trees,” said Berg.
While zoo officials are more than happy to receive donations, there are a few things that they don’t want to see such as ornaments and hooks, tinsel and spray paint as it all could be very harmful to the animals.
“We do double check the trees before we give them out," said Berg. "But it’s best not to give any of our animals any foreign objects.”
And even if you can't bring a Christmas tree, zoo officials say it’s still a great time to stop by because you don’t know what you’re missing.
“You’re missing us and all the animals,” said Berg.