Oakland Zoo animals celebrate holidays with gifts, leftover Christmas trees

Humans weren’t the only ones celebrating the holidays this year: the animals at Oakland Zoo also got a treat. Thanks to donations from the public through a zoo-organized Amazon Wishlist, along with local Christmas tree companies looking to unload their unsold wares, monkeys, elephants, otters and tigers got to share in the holiday joy.

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“The elephants and other animals at Oakland Zoo will be spreading the holiday cheer far past New Year’s Day as they enjoy the scrumptious taste of a noble or Douglas fir,” said Gina Kinzley, Co-Elephant Manager at Oakland Zoo. “While elephants may enjoy the taste, other animals use the trees for furniture or hiding places as well as an air freshener. Over the years, the elephants have gotten picky, and prefer to dine on noble firs.”

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The Christmas trees have a multitude of uses based on the animal’s interest: some enjoy them as an appetizer, while others like searching through their branches for hidden treats placed there by zookeepers.

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Items from the Amazon Wishlist included kongs, puzzle feeders and jolly balls, used to entertain the zoo’s sun bears, tigers, zebras, baboons and chimps. The public can donate goods to the Oakland Zoo year round; a list of items they need can be found here.

Guests of the zoo can watch animals enjoying the seasonal treats daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

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