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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 December 2007, 18:06 GMT
Zoo animals given Christmas treat
Yuri the tiger with his pine tree
Keepers said Yuri the tiger loves the new addition to his enclosure
Animals at Edinburgh Zoo have been brought some festive cheer after Christmas trees were put in their enclosures.

The pine trees, which are not decorated, have been given to animals that would normally find them in their natural habitat.

Among the animals which have been given the special gift are the zoo's tigers and antelope.

Zoo staff said each species reacted to the Christmas trees in a different way.

Darren McGarry, animal collection manager at Edinburgh Zoo, said the animals had derived great enjoyment from the seasonal additions to their homes.

'Love the smell'

He said that carnivores like tigers Yuri and Sasha rip up the trees and mark them with their scent, while gentler species like the bongo, a form of antelope, simply pushed the greenery around their enclosures.

Mr McGarry added: "Our keepers provide behavioural and environmental enrichment for the animals in the zoo in many ways and different animals prefer different things.

"Some of our animals love the smell of pine trees and, depending on what animal it is, they will throw it around their enclosure and display various other natural behaviours."

He said they rarely had problems finding a supply of trees, with a DIY store in the city donating three trees for the tigers this year.

"Quite often local garden centres will bring in their trees once Christmas is over but we would be grateful if the public didn't try to do the same as we would have far too many," Mr McGarry said.

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