News Release

January 21, 2020
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
Brookfield Zoo Animals Enjoy Enrichment Trees
Brookfield, Ill.—This past holiday season, nearly 650 trees were decorated by organizations and corporations for Brookfield Zoo’s Tree Trim. With the holidays over, what does the zoo do with all those trees? The groundkeepers mulch the trees that are then used in landscaping throughout the park.

However, several of the trees are also repurposed and given to animals for enrichment. Today, Hudson, one of the zoo’s polar bears received a tree decorated with fish and a variety of fresh vegetables, including a head of lettuce that served as the topper. The herd of reindeer and bison pushed the trees around and rubbed their antlers and horns in the conifers, respectively. And, Whirl, an Amur tiger, seemed to like her upside down tree adorned with chunk meat and scented with perfume.

Guests can enjoy visiting Brookfield Zoo in the winter time to see the cold-hardy animals as well as the ones that are indoors. General admission to the zoo is free on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays in January and February.
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About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. Open every day of the year, the zoo is located at 8400 31stStreet in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and is also accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

Photo Captions—credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society

2200 and 2208: Sparkle, one of Brookfield Zoo’s reindeer, seemed to enjoy rubbing her antlers in a Christmas tree that animal care staff gave to her and the rest of the herd for enrichment.

2260, 2280 and 2286: Christmas trees were repurposed and given to the bison herd for enrichment at Brookfield Zoo. Leoti, one of the zoo’s bison seemed to enjoy rubbing her horns and pushing the trees around.

2410 and 2411: Whirl, an Amur tiger at Brookfield Zoo, was presented with an upside Christmas tree for enrichment. The tree was adorned with chunk meat and scented with perfume.

2654, 2660, and 2676: Hudson, a polar bear at Brookfield Zoo, received a repurposed Christmas tree for enrichment. It was adorned with fish and a variety of fresh vegetables, including a head of lettuce that served as the topper.


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


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