This sanctuary recycles Christmas trees by feeding them to the elephants, and it’s as cute as it is eco-friendly

One of the reasons why certain people opt for a fake Christmas tree instead of going real is because it can often be a pain dealing with the aftermath. While some neighborhoods allow you to recycle trees, some sanctuaries and zoos feed Christmas trees to elephants. Both the spare, unused trees that were farmed for the holiday and donated Christmas trees are handled by professionals (with some making extra sure they’re pesticide-free) and are surprisingly a good part of an elephant’s diet.

Elephants are herbivores, and according to National Geographic, adults eat close to 300 pounds of food per day. Most of their diet consists of root, bark, grass, and fruit — so the occasional Christmas tree must be quite a treat. A Tennessee elephant sanctuary actually holds a drive each year for residents to donate their old trees in order to help feed their crew.

“The purpose of this program is to not only provide the elephants with more variety to their diet but to also allow the public to donate and connect to the elephants,” The Elephant Sanctuary’s Lead Caregiver Kristy E. said, according to their website, Her sanctuary accepts donations between December 26th and January 2nd. All donations, as you’d guess, need to be free from tinsel and other decorations.

If you’re in Tennessee and feel inclined, this adorable video of elephants eating Christmas trees may be the inspiration you need.

For the young elephant in the video,  it looks like the smaller trees also serve as a toy before they become dinner!

And since it’s just too cute, here’s a video of elephants in Berlin eating their own Christmas dinner. The Berlin zoo has been feeding Christmas trees to their elephant residents for quite some time.

Next Christmas, just remember how big of an impact your live tree might make. It could very well be a meal fit for an elephant.

Filed Under