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Monkeying around with festive trees

Blue Reef keeper Terry Mckeon with Black Tailed Marmosets Rocky and Frodo and Christmas trees.

Blue Reef keeper Terry Mckeon with Black Tailed Marmosets Rocky and Frodo and Christmas trees.

Keepers at Blue Reef Aquarium have found a solution to the problem of what to do with old Christmas trees.

The Tynemouth attraction is using them as a form of environmental enrichment for their colony of New World monkeys.

Staff are cutting off branches from the old trees and creating new habitats and climbing areas for the monkeys – a mixture of marmosets and tamarins – to explore.

As well as using them for bedding areas, keepers have also combined the branches with larger tree trunks to create new objects.

Blue Reef’s Anna Etchells said: “At this time of year everyone is trying to come up with a useful way to dispose of their old Christmas trees.

“We decided to test out how the monkeys would react to the trees and their pine needles and they’ve gone down an absolute storm.

“Although they’re not the most comfortable-looking of trees, the marmosets have been happily using them as bedding and they seem fascinated by the needles.”

 

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