PITTSBORO, N.C.--Christmas may be over, but your trees are in high demand because the Carolina Tiger Rescue wants you to drop them off for a handoff their tiger and lions.
“They like the stickiness and the smell of the tree,” said Robin Thomson, a volunteer with the Carolina Tiger Rescue.
Just like toys for Christmas, these trees are a holiday treat for the cats.
“It's almost like their Christmas present as well,” said Thompson.
A present paired with preparation. To start, volunteers douse the trees in scents like peppermint oil.
“Tigers have scent markers in their cheeks and down their neck. When they find an interesting smell they'll roll around in it, they'll eat it, they'll chew on it a little bit, and get a taste of it. They'll roll around in it to absorb it and get the most out of it,” added Horsfield.
The interaction the tigers and lions have with the Christmas trees is part of their enrichment. It helps keep them mentally and physically stimulated similar to the experience they would have in the wild.
“Without new enrichment they would go stir crazy, just like people would if they were left in an enclosure,” Horsfield said.
It's a tradition that enhances the lives of these animals.
“Whenever we have a successful enrichment it makes us very happy because the cats are happy as well,” Thomson said.
They're happy to carry out the Tiger Rescue's mission, to save and protect.
To donate your Christmas tree, be sure to remove all ornaments and tinsel beforehand. They also ask that you call in advance.
Carolina Tiger Rescue:
Carolina Tiger Rescue.