TUCSON, Ariz. — With the holiday season ending, millions of Christmas trees will soon end up in landfills across the country.
But Tucson Petting Zoo and Funny Foot Farm is helping people discard their trees in an environmentally conscious way while giving their animals a special treat.
Each year, the goats at the zoo chomp down on any and all Christmas trees that get donated to the zoo.
"We give the goats the Christmas trees because it's actually good for parasites when they eat the pine needles," said Kenneth MacNeil, the owner of Tucson Petting Zoo and Funny Foot Farm. "The Christmas tree is totally edible by the goats. It doesn't bother them at all, and it helps to recycle trees instead of them going to landfills."
The petting zoo has been feeding the goats Christmas trees for years. The zoo typically takes in about ten trees every season.
Donors can call the zoo to make arrangements for a drop-off.
"We've taken in Christmas trees anytime people have extra ones that they don't know what to do with," MacNeil said.
The outdoor business model has helped the zoo survive during the pandemic. The zoo has been around for about five years, and the pens are still full and open with plenty of exotic animals to see.
"We were a little scared for a couple months, but for the most part, we were able to be open through most of the pandemic because we are outside," MacNeil said. "We did get a decent number of customers in."
MacNeil says he will keep the tradition going as long as the trees and visitors keep coming and the goats keep eating.
This story was originally published by Shawndrea Thomas on Scripps station KGUN in Tucson, Arizona.