TOPEKA (KSNT) – The Topeka Zoo is collecting Christmas Trees for recycling. The zoo is accepting live trees that are clean of any ornaments, lights, hooks, or tinsel.

The trees will ultimately be turned into mulch, but first Director of Conservation & Education Dennis Dinwiddie said the trees are given to the zoo animals as a New Year treat.

“Some animals really like to just play with as a toy,” Dinwiddie said. “They’ll drag them around. They’ll chew on them. Some of them will hide under them and use them to be all stealthy and feel like the real predator in the wild, and then others wrestle around with them. They will play tug of war with them for a while.”

The Topeka Zoo calls treats like this enrichment. These are treats, usually a new smell or taste, that help the animals explore.

“Almost every animal here has new things whether it’s something to challenge them physically, something to challenge them psychologically,” Dinwiddie said. “Something new to play with, something new to explore, something new to have an experience with every day. The Christmas trees are some of the bigger, grander things like that.”

The zoo will be accepting Christmas Trees through Saturday. People can drop them off on the south end of the Topeka Zoo by the Horseshoe courts off of Munn Memorial Drive.