Singapore’s River Safari is collecting unwanted Christmas trees for its animals, including one named Justin Beaver

The Wildlife Reserves Singapore appealed to the public to drop off their Christmas trees – which will be given to the animals to gnaw, scratch, sniff and play with – at the Singapore Zoo’s open carpark.
Facebook / Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Christmas might be over, but the spirit of giving stays.

If you’re still clinging on to that pine or fir tree you bought for the festive season, here’s a cause that might convince you to give it up.

The Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) uploaded a Facebook post on Tuesday, appealing to the public to drop off their live Christmas trees at the Singapore Zoo’s open-air carpark from 9am to 2pm on Saturday (Jan 5).

The trees will be given to some of the animals at the zoo and River Safari to gnaw, scratch, sniff and play with.

They include one beaver named Justin Beaver, who was first featured on social media with his friend, Selena (get it?).

In 2017, the American beavers sent the hearts of animal lovers aflutter when WRS posted a video of them chilling in the waters together.

Gnawing, scratching, sniffing and playing with trees are all part of a process called animal enrichment, where animals explore new and unfamiliar objects as they naturally do in the wild, WRS told The Straits Times (ST).

WRS often uses natural materials, such as leaves and branches from trees in its parks, for animal enrichment.

One of WRS’ employees – veteran zookeeper Kumaran Sesshe – shared a Facebook post last Saturday from the perspective of Justin Beaver, urging netizens to donate their Christmas trees to the animals.

He said that those with “real, lush and green” Christmas trees to spare after the festive season could donate them to WRS.

Facebook user Grace Tan left a comment on WRS’ Facebook post asking if trees which leaves have dried up can still be donated.

Unfortunately, trees that are mostly dried up are not suitable.

According to ST’s report, this isn’t the first time that WRS has held such an initiative. A similar one started on a small scale in 2017. But this time round, keen interest online has helped to spread the word.

What sparked the idea of creating this initiative was when WRS’ staff noticed that many people were disposing of their trees after Christmas. They felt that these trees – with their pine scents – would make good enrichment devices for WRS’ animals as they are something that the animals are not usually exposed to in captivity, ST said.

According to American non-profit organisation Beaver Institute, beavers chew on wood to help keep their teeth sharp and prevent them from growing too long as as their teeth continues growing throughout their lives.

ST also reported last month that more people in Singapore were opting for a real tree in their homes.

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