Linton Zoo lions 'recycle' discarded Christmas trees

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Media captionThe big cats at Linton Zoo have experienced a "catnip" effect from the trees

A pair of African lions have gone wild for Christmas trees after a Cambridgeshire zoo appealed for people to donate them for recycling.

The trees are being reused by Linton Zoological Gardens as big cat toys, bio-fuel and, if they still have roots, to enrich the zoo's enclosures.

Manager Dawny Greenwood said the scented trees are "almost like catnip" for the resident big cats.

She added: "They just love the trees, it gives them hours of fun."

Catnip, sometimes known at catmint, is a plant of the mint family and can cause many cats euphoria.

Image caption The Christmas trees are also used for the zoo's green energy production

The zoo's tigers and snow leopards also play with the trees, those that are "beyond their best" are used for the zoo's bio-burner.

"This provides additional heating and hot water to help run our zoo at this very expensive, cold time of year," said Ms Greenwood.

Donations have so far ranged from families dropping off a single tree to local nurseries donating unsold stock.

Ms Greenwood added: "We can't collect the trees, but people can just drop them off at the gate."

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