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Zoo animals benefiting from used Christmas tree donations

Chehaw is now accepting Christmas trees for their animal enrichment programs. / Mary Green

Your Christmas tree might still be sitting in your home, but before you toss it, a local zoo said it could be used to help their animals.

Chehaw is now accepting Christmas trees for their animal enrichment programs.

So far, they've received about a dozen trees.

Keepers put the trees in animals' habitats for them to interact with it, while they can also break off branches for the smaller animals to use the tree.

"It might be that we're trying to engage them mentally, so we'll use it almost as a puzzle feeder. We'll spread their diet all around it. It might be that we're trying to engage all their senses — their sense of smell, their sense of touch," Primary Keeper Brandi Rubeck said.

You can donate a tree by bringing it to the ticket booth during park hours.

Rubeck said it needs to be clear of any ornaments, hooks or tinsel, and it shouldn't have been treated with chemicals or sprayed.

Anyone who still wants to give Chehaw a post-Christmas gift but no longer has a tree can donate through their Amazon wish list.

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