Used Christmas trees make toys for tigers at Rowan sanctuary
Friday, Jan. 03, 2014

Used Christmas trees make toys for tigers at Rowan sanctuary

The endangered lions and tigers at Tiger World in Rowan County get special Christmas presents each year in the form of discarded Christmas trees. Here a couple of tigers enjoy a Fraser fir. The donation of your used tree will earn one free park admission.

Your discarded Christmas tree can be turned into the best present ever for tigers and lions.

For the sixth year, Tiger World, an accredited nonprofit tiger sanctuary and education center on Cook Road in Rockwell, is accepting used trees in exchange for a free park admission.

Lea Jaunakais, owner of Tiger World, said their annual recycling of Christmas trees for lions and tigers is her favorite time of year.

“Our tigers love playing with the Christmas trees and use them as toys,” said Jaunakais. “To them it’s something new and different. They use them for hours of entertainment and exercise – tearing them up and licking the sap.”

So it’s fun for the animals, but also for donors and visitors who come to watch.

Donating is easy. Instead of discarding your used tree at the street, take it with you on your visit to Tiger World.

Trees must be completely natural and ornament- and tinsel-free, with no chemicals or flocking. For one donated tree, you can receive one free admission.

The center is accepting trees through Jan. 31. Tiger World is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays (closed on Wednesdays) for walkabout and self-guided tours. To learn more about donating your tree and the work Tiger World does to protect endangered big cats and other exotic species, visit

Carole Howell is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Carole? Email her at

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