LAKE ARIEL, Pa. — Claws N Paws Wild Animal Park near Lake Ariel may be closed for the season but the parking lot is open. The reason? They want your Christmas tree.
Spruce, fir, whatever the type they'll take any and all, as long as there are no signs of Christmas decor left behind because the staff gives the trees to the animals.
"There can't be any kind of spray on them, like the artificial snow or any kind of preservatives. No tinsel or hooks and make sure all the ornaments are off," says Carina Fabricatore, Zookeeper at Claws 'N' Paws.
Recycling Christmas trees has become an annual tradition at the wildlife park and zookeeper Carina Fabbricatore says they are always surprised at how many trees get dropped off each year.
"If we just even get twenty we'll be happy with that. Last year, I think we got 400 trees. We use them for a while. The petting area will eat them so we can give them to the petting area, the sheep, the goats, and the deer they will eat them. We can put three in there every day," says Fabricatore.
It's quiet during the winter months at Claws N Paws, so for the animals to have something to play with is free entertainment.
"Throughout the year, they get items. Every single day they get something to play with. In the fall, lots of times we have pumpkins, and at Christmastime we have trees and they love them. They love the way they smell, running around the yards for them, and some of them actually eat them," says Carina.
Daniel and Kari are the newest members of the Claws N Paws family. This is the first time the young lions have gotten a Christmas tree to play with. Zookeepers say the curiosity is good stimulation for the lions when the park is closed.
"It's great when you have an animal that's never been around a Christmas tree like that before. It's fun to watch. We weren't sure what they were going to do, but they look like they're enjoying it," says Fabricatore.
Claws 'N' Paws will be closed for New Year's Eve and Day, but you can drop your tree off at the park beginning January 2, anytime between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
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