In Thoiry zoo, the tree is a gift in itself. For several years, the zoological park of Yvelines – like its Parisian counterpart to the zoo of Vincennes – has reclaimed the unsold conifers to offer them to its borders on legs. It is fir trees that stand without a buyer after Christmas that brands such as Truffaut or Ikéa have decided to make available to the zoo free of charge.
These fir trees, mainly firs selected for the strong smell they emit, are then installed in the enclosure of certain species such as hyenas, gorillas, lemurs, but also big cats such as tigers or panthers. According to Thoiry zoo, it is a way “to change their habits, arouse their curiosity and offer them new scents”. Stimulations deemed “essential to their well-being”.
Some will play with it as a booty, others will rub it
The zoo specifies that “depending on the species, the reactions are different”. While some will play with the tree “as prey”, others would rather “rub against it to deposit their scent”. The zoo also points out that the selected trees “have not been used”. It is indeed a matter of avoiding “any risk that there are toxic decoration residues for the animals”.
But primates and felines can tire of their new Christmas toys quite quickly. “After a few days, the fir trees lose their smell and their novelty effect”, we tell Thoiry. The conifers will then be “crushed on site to make organic recovery which will be used in the park’s gardens”.