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Call for Christmas Trees at Local Zoo

LAKE ARIEL, Pa. — The call is out at one local zoo, and it may sound like a strange request. “Let’s find a good tree,” said Leah Kasheta...

LAKE ARIEL, Pa. -- The call is out at one local zoo, and it may sound like a strange request.

"Let's find a good tree," said Leah Kasheta under her breath as she searched a pile of discarded Christmas trees.

That's right -- Christmas trees.

"This is my workout for today," laughed Kasheta as she dragged the tree up the hill towards the Padas Monkey enclosure at Claws 'N' Paws near Hamlin.

While there are no visitors at the zoo during the winter months, the animals and zookeepers are here each day taking care of them.

"All the animals, they stay right here. A lot of the animals can't come out in the winter. Right now our giraffe has to stay in the barn because his whole yard is covered in ice. Once that melts he can come out," explained Kasheta.

"The animals tolerate it pretty well, as you can see the lions, they're out, they like to be out, they don't mind it they handle the winter pretty well, but they do have a heated house to go into as well."

During these cold months, with little interaction, Kasheta and the other zookeepers look for ways to change up the animals' daily routines. That's where your Christmas tree comes in.

"It's called enrichment, we try to give all of the animals here new enrichment every day. It stimulates the mind," said Kasheta as she watched the monkeys check out the Christmas tree. "It's just something different, we don't get them in the summer or the spring, so it's just new to them."

While some use the trees to play, these Patas Monkeys look for treats hidden inside. The menu?

"Cantaloupe, apples, and some cheerios," explained Kasheta.

You can drop off your tree any day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. right outside the gift shop. Make sure all decorations are removed before dropping the tree off.

"We will take however many trees anyone wants to donate. And we'll find a way to use them and if we don't we will properly replace it. Don't be shy, bring your tree on down."