Big cats’ delight at festive forest

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre.

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre. - Credit: Archant

LEFTOVER Christmas trees gave some delight to lions and tigers as they enjoyed new prickly playgrounds at a Wraxall attraction

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre.

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre. - Credit: Archant

Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm planted two mini forests, made up of the six-foot trees, as part of an unusual winter scent enrichment exercise for the big cats in its care.

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre.

Tigers let out into forest of Christmas trees donated by Bristol Garden centre. - Credit: Archant

More than 50 festive trees were donated by Park Garden Centres, which owns Almondsbury Garden Centre in Bristol where staff were keen to find a green solution to recycling this year’s leftovers.

Both lions and tigers have a like for strong pine smells and the mini-forests were dug overnight in the outdoor pens at the Bristol Road zoo before the animals were allowed out to enjoy them.

First Khan, an eight-year-old Bengal tiger, and then the African lion brothers Zulu and Masai, had their chance to sniff, claw and pounce on the trees.


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Noah’s Ark big cat keeper Emma Godsell said: “Enrichment is particularly important for big cats in captivity to keep them stimulated – scent enrichment has worked well for our tigers and lions in the past and we wanted to try something on a larger scale this year.

“Khan in particular spent much of the morning rolling and playing in the trees and exploring all the new smells in his territory which encourages him to use his natural instincts.”

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