Endangered African elephants at the world’s oldest zoo were thrilled to receive a belated Xmas present when a huge tree was delivered for them to nibble on and play with.
The delicious treat was given to the herd of elephants at the Schoenbrunn Zoo, in the city of Vienna, Austria, by representatives from the Austrian Federal Forests (OeBf) on Tuesday, 10th January.
Video footage shared by the zoo shows the elephants curiously plucking and nibbling on the needles and branches of the 90-year-old spruce.
Standing at 18 metres (59 feet) of height, the tree that reportedly adorned this year’s Schoenbrunn Christmas Market was initially dismantled by the forestry service crews before they delivered it to the zoo.
Director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck said in a statement obtained by Newsflash from Schoenbrunn Zoo: “The untreated tree is primarily used by the animals for pleasure and, in addition to daily training and other enrichment programs, brings variety to the facility.
“The elephants scrape off the bark and then use the trunk, for example, to scratch themselves and perform further trunk acrobatics.”
Schoenbrunn Christmas Market organiser from the MTS Vienna marketing agency Gabriela Schmidle revealed she was extremely pleased with the 15th tree handover.
Schmidle is quoted in the statement as saying: “I am delighted that this long-standing tradition can be continued again this year and that the Christmas tree not only brought joy to over 1 million people during the pre-Christmas period , but now also the elephants in Schoenbrunn Zoo.”
OeBf board member Andreas Gruber greeted the sustainable use of the spruce and added: “I am pleased that the Christmas tree is still being used after the Christmas season.
“This makes it a feast for the eyes, a treat for the palate and a pleasure to play in one”.
The marketing agency has reportedly been recycling Christmas trees in the same way since 2008.
Another tree that embellished the Schloss Hof Christmas Markets was reportedly handed over to the camels at the palace located in the area of Marchfeld, Austria.
Managing Director of the Schoenbrunn Group Klaus Panholzer said: “The handover of the Christmas tree in Schloss Hof and in Schoenbrunn at the beginning of the year has become a beautiful tradition that everyone enjoys.”
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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