CLEVELAND - From camels to rabbits and sheep to water buffalo, the North Georgia Zoo is home to more than 400 animals, and those animals can use your Christmas tree once you're finished with it.
From December 26 to the end of January, operators of the zoo in Cleveland will take discarded trees and use them for a variety of purposes at the 40-acre zoo on Paradise Valley Road.
Christine McNulty, a wildlife tour guide at North Georgia Zoo, is coordinating the tree recycling effort. She said in an interview on WDUN's Bill & Joel Morning Show that the animals use the trees from top to bottom.
"The kangaroos use them as back scratchers. So do the lynx as well as the cougar," she said.
Some animals, like the goats and sheep, eat parts of the trees.
"Some of the larger rodents, like the African crested porcupine and the beaver will chew on them to help whittle down their teeth, and once those guys are done with them, the birds get them to perch in."
McNulty said it's important to note that only green trees will be taken for recyling and the trees must be free of ornaments, since the animals can become ill if they ingest any of those items.
McNulty said there are drop off sites for the trees at White County Farmers Exchange, Ash Brothers Feed in Cleveland, The Torch Worship Center in Demorest and Clarkesville Vet Hospital.
Anyone who wants to donate may also bring the tree directly to the zoo, but she advised that it's best to call ahead to make sure someone is on site.
Plus, McNulty says anyone who had 10 trees or more to donate can call for pick-up at 706-349-7279.