Knowsley safari park finds a unique way to recycle Christmas trees

A safari park has found a unique way to give a new lease of life to Christmas trees - by giving them to their animals.

Knowsley Safari Park, in Prescot, has been upcycling the trees as a way to stimulate the animals and give them a challenge.

Among the recipients are the park's lions, who have been getting up close and personal with the trees, giving them something “to investigate and smell.”

"Because they're obviously in a captive environment, you want to try and put back as much into their environment of choice and control and new things," Lindsey Banks acting head of section of the hoofed mammals at the safari, said.

Lindsay Banks, acting head of section of hoofed mammals, explains why the animals love them:

"Because naturally in the wild they'd come across lots of different things all the time. Their environment changes a lot.

"For us, anywhere where we can offer something that will get them engaging in their environment, investigating something, using to add enrichment to hide food, and encouraging them to spend more time engaged in different behaviours, always has a positive benefit in terms of their welfare."

Other animals, including bisons and moose, naturally feed on pine trees, and are a welcome addition to their diet.

“It offers quite a nice natural winter feed alongside their normal diet", Lindsey said.

"But also for the bison, it's something different and novel that they don't get all the time. It's something that smells and looks a bit different.

"They like to investigate it, they like to sniff it, and the males will dress their horns as well. They're trying to show who's top dog so to speak."

For bisons and moose, pine trees are something they would naturally feed on. Credit: PA Images

The safari has been upcycling old Christmas trees for several years now and Ms Banks said the scheme was "an excellent opportunity to reuse something that otherwise would go to waste."

"Anyone who's got any Christmas tree that has obviously not had any decorations sprayed on or anything that could contaminate them, we'll take here," Lindsey said.

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