If you’re still holding onto your Christmas tree, you might want to consider donating it to the nearest wildlife sanctuary. Facilities in both Canada’s east and west have put out calls for the chopped-down evergreens, which can provide animals with everything from a snack to shelter, and for some larger animals, even a toy.
Earlier this month, The Atlantic Wildlife Institute in Cookeville, New Brunswick, and The Alberta Institute for Wildlife in Madden, Alberta, asked locals to donate discarded trees, which they planned to give to the animals in their care. Both facilities house porcupines, which will often tear apart and eat the trees. Other animals, like bears, bobcats, foxes, hawks, owls, and crows, use them to keep cozy in the cold winter months.
But the B.C. Wildlife Park in Kamloops, which is home to a bull elk that they’ve named “Thunder,” is looking for trees that can be used as toys. If you’re wondering exactly how an elk plays with a Christmas tree, the wildlife park posted a video of just that last week.
Thunder, our bull (male) elk, loves playing with Christmas trees! Do you still have a real Christmas tree at home? We are looking for donations of real Christmas trees with no decorations on them! They make great enrichment items for our park animals! Please call 250-573-3242 ext.232 if you have a tree to donate!
Posted by BC Wildlife Park on Tuesday, January 10, 2017
Adrienne Clay, the park’s animal care supervisor, told reporters Thunder will toss the trees around with his antlers for hours—essentially until the full-grown evergreens look more like toothpicks.
After the park posted the video, comments started pouring in and, suddenly, people from across the province wanted the playful elk to have their tree. It certainly does seem like a fun and interesting way to give your tree a second life.
The park, which runs a hospital for wild animals, isn’t open to the public, but Clay said that donations can be left in a bin in the parking lot, which staff check regularly. The park is also looking for any unwanted meat that you may have in your freezer to feed the facility’s carnivores. According to Clay they’re open to pretty much anything, as long as the meat isn’t ground, salted or spiced and the trees are clear of any decorations.