Elephants at ARTIS zoo enjoy Dam Square's Christmas tree

Elephants at ARTIS zoo enjoy Dam Square's Christmas tree

The festive season is well and truly over, and after a month of bringing Christmas cheer to the Amsterdam city centre, the Christmas tree from Dam square found a new home - and a new purpose - in the elephant enclosure at ARTIS Amsterdam Royal Zoo. 

A Christmas gift for the elephants at ARTIS

Since 2018, the 20-metre high Christmas tree has been taken down in early January and transported to the historical Amsterdam zoo for the Asian elephants to eat and enjoy. "The animals love it every year," said Hans van Zurk, the so-called tree man at the municipality of Amsterdam. 

What exactly do the elephants do with the tree, you may be asking. Well, they eat it, they rip off branches and carry them around, and they climb all over it. The tree not only offers food for the animals, but also some much-needed mental stimulation and fun. Van Zurk is pleased that the municipality has found a way to dispose of the tree which is both sustainable and joyful.

The Asian elephants share their enclosure with giraffes, zebras, kudus, and ibexes, who are therefore also able to make the most of the new temporary addition to their space. Sadly, zoos and animal parks are closed at the moment due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however you can get a glimpse of the animal's reaction to their gift in the video below. 

Victoria Séveno


Victoria Séveno

Victoria grew up in Amsterdam, before moving to the UK to study English and Related Literature at the University of York and completing her NCTJ course at the Press Association...

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