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Brookfield Zoo’s animals receive post-holiday enrichment

Now that the holiday season is over, Brookfield Zoo’s Grounds staff is chipping more than 800 trees, which were decorated by community organizations, families, and corporations and on display for Holiday Magic. The mulch will be used for landscaping around the 235-acre park. However, as in past years, several dozen trees are being repurposed and given to the animals for enrichment.

Yesterday, January 13, Hudson, a 16-year-old polar bear, received a tree adorned with some of his favorites vegetables and lard. The zoo’s African lions—Brutus and Titus—seemed to enjoy the raw meat hidden in their trees as well as the trees themselves, which were hung from bungee cords. Animal care specialists placed bones and pig ears and snouts on the trees given to the African painted dogs. And, the zoo’s bison and reindeer used the trees to rub their horns and antlers on and even toss around.

Winter is a great time to visit Brookfield Zoo to see many of the animals who enjoy the cooler months. Guests can also warm up indoors in the animal buildings with a more tropical climate. In January and February on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, admission to the zoo is free (parking fee still applies).

Animal care specialists are always thinking of ways to physically and mentally stimulate the animals at Brookfield Zoo. One way is by providing them with enrichment items they normally do not receive on a regular basis, including the seasonal trees.

About the Chicago Zoological Society

The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership

by connecting people to 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, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit

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