News Release

January 7, 2021
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.903.2071 (cell),
(NOTE: Download images of animals with their enrichment trees at end of press release.)
Animals at Brookfield Zoo Enjoy Enrichment Trees

Brookfield, Ill.— It’s that time of year when people are thinking about recycling their Christmas trees. With more than 650 of its own trees to recycle, the animal care staff at Brookfield Zoo repurpose some and provide them to the animals for enrichment. The remaining trees are mulched by the grounds crew and used in landscaping the flower beds around the park.

Today, January 6, the bison and reindeer seemed to enjoy rubbing their horns and antlers, respectively, in the trees, and even flipping them into the air. Hudson, one of the zoo’s polar bears, along with 4-year-old African lions Brutus and Titus, received tasty nutritious treats, including bones, meat, or vegetables hidden amongst the trees’ branches.

Brookfield Zoo is currently closed to guests through February 28. However, the public can still stay connected to the animals by tuning in to the zoo’s “Bringing the Zoo to You” Facebook Live chats on weekdays at 11:00 a.m. CT. The zoo is scheduled to reopen on March 1.

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Photo Captions--credit Jim Schulz/Chicago Zoological Society
5885 and 5895: The bison at Brookfield Zoo received Christmas trees for enrichment. They seemed to enjoy rubbing their horns on the trees and even flipping them up in the air.
5977 and 6017: Brookfield Zoo’s reindeer herd were treated to Christmas trees for enrichment. They rubbed their antlers on the trees and tossed them around their habitat.
6133: Hudson, a 14-year-old polar bear at Brookfield Zoo, scopes out a Christmas tree with nutritious treats hidden amongst the branches. Several of the zoo’s animals received the trees for enrichment.
6482 and 6517: Titus, one of Brookfield Zoo’s African lions, hunts for a bone hidden amongst the branches of a Christmas tree he and his brother, Brutus, received for enrichment.
6569: Brutus, a 4-year-old African lion at Brookfield Zoo, gets ready to dig out a bone hidden in the branches of a Christmas tree he received for enrichment.

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. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


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


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