Auckland Zoo treats animals to a Christmas feast

  • 25/12/2016

Christmas Day isn't only a time for friends and families but also something to share with our favourite animals.

But we're not only talking about your pampered pooch or cat, because the animals at Auckland Zoo were also treated to something special.

They're zookeepers for 364 days of the year, but on Sunday they have taken on the role of Santa's helpers. That's because Christmas lunch isn't only a holiday tradition for people, but also the animals at Auckland Zoo.

For Jaka the tiger, his special festive treat was a bit of meat and his favourite Christmas spices - things like nutmeg, cloves and mixed spice - so for Christmas he actually got some presents wrapped up, which is another thing he likes - cardboard boxes.

Like any excited kid or cub, he couldn't wait to tear his way through all of the presents under the tree.

There were similar festivities in the squirrel monkey enclosure, with the keepers hanging gift bags from the trees - some grass, some mealworms and some nuts. They don't typically feed them outside, so this is a real special treat.

They're some of the most mischievous of the animal kingdom, causing chaos at the lunch table, and it was definitely first in first served.

There was even some pohutukawa to nibble on - a meal that had all the makings of a real Kiwi Christmas.

Christmas Day is the only day of the year the Auckland Zoo is closed, and it's a special chance for keepers and little guys to have a bit of one-on-one time.

While the squirrel monkeys feasted in the treetops above, down below the capybaras munched away on the leftovers, and their favourite bamboo.

Most happily took part in the festivities, but like most families, even the animal kingdom has a grumpy relative at the lunch table.

Sunday's Christmas Grinch was Bruce the lace monitor. Meat dangled in front of him, he didn't want a bar of it. But eventually Bruce did come around.

As for the giraffes, they were well and truly smitten with their Christmas snacks - fruit and veggies, including their favourites - carrot, apple and banana.

For a giraffe those treats are like ice cream for people, and the cherry on top of a Christmas Day that had the animals licking their lips.


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