Rockin’ around the Christmas tree: Prague zoo animals get festive

The zoo’s elephants, hyenas, and gorillas made the most of unsold Christmas trees donated by tree vendors. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 29.12.2021 14:06:00 (updated on 29.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

Christmas arrived at Prague Zoo this year in the form of 60 unsold Christmas trees donated by Czech sellers. The trees arrived at the zoo yesterday afternoon. Whole trees were gifted to the elephants, hyenas and gorillas, while other species of animal also received branches of trees.

The donated Christmas trees form a special part of the animals’ Christmas menu, which also includes hundreds of kilograms of fruit and vegetables donated by visitors to the zoo on Christmas Day.

Pictures published by Prague Zoo show how the Christmas trees doubled up as toys. Indian elephant calves took particular delight in playing with their food, with parents for once expressing no displeasure and joining in the fun.

The zoo’s gorillas and hyenas also received whole trees to play with and devour. And animals throughout the zoo will continue to enjoy branches from Prague's Old Town Square Christmas tree after it is taken down in January. Around 15 species of animal get to feast on Christmas tree branches at this time of year, according to zoo director Miroslav Bobek.

Along with elephants, gorillas and hyenas, species of animal which have already received parts of Christmas trees include wolves, bison, honey badgers and giraffes.

Prague Zoo only accepts Christmas trees coming directly from sellers, as trees from households could contain wires or ornaments harmful to animals. Last week, though, visitors to the zoo brought 700 kilograms of apples, 560 kilograms of carrots, over half a ton of dry bread and dozens of kilos of other foodstuffs as Christmas gifts for the animals.


The Christmas feeding frenzy comes amid exciting times for Prague Zoo. Cooper, the first wombat ever to arrive in the Czech Republic, will be displayed to the public for the first time at the start of 2022. Bobek described Cooper as “a significant enrichment of Darwin’s crater,” where animals from Australia and Tasmania are held.

In the spring, the zoo expects to receive pangolins from Taipei. And in September, the new gorilla pavilion is scheduled to open in a major new development for the zoo costing approximately CZK 267 million. The new pavilion will host seven gorillas led by silverback male Richard.

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