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Parks & Rec

Posted on: November 21, 2018

Animals to get gifts during ‘25 Days of Zoo Christmas’

animal gift giving

Animals at the Spring River Park and Zoo will get to enjoy Christmas throughout December this year as the zoo has expanded its annual gift-giving that provides enrichment for the animals. Sponsored by Friends of Spring River Zoo, the zoo has planned “25 Days of Zoo Christmas.”

Each day, from Dec. 1 through Dec. 26 (taking Christmas Day off), zookeepers will provide three different animals with unique gifts, some of which can be donated by the public. Friends of Spring River Zoo members will wrap the gifts so the animals can enjoy opening their own Christmas presents throughout the month. Except for Tuesdays when the zoo is normally closed (in December, those days have been designated as members-only days for Friends members), the public is invited to come watch the animals receive and enjoy their gifts.

The 25 days of providing gifts for the animals enables enrichment that promotes the chances of the animals doing more species-specific behaviors, which increase the quality of life for the animals. Examples of such behaviors are foraging, digging, climbing, playing, using the senses and manipulation among others.

For the past five years, the zoo has provided the animals with gifts on a single day just before Christmas. This is the first year the traditional activity will go on every day in December leading to Christmas.

Anyone who would like to contribute a gift for the animals is welcome to, but should contact zookeeper Andrea Cole (a.cole@roswell-nm.gov) in advance to ensure the item is appropriate for an animal, and to be informed about delivering the item or items to the zoo. Good gifts to provide are live Christmas trees and wreaths, wrapping paper, and red and green paper and streamers.

Here is the schedule of what animals (for some of these there is just one of the animal while others have multiple animals in the enclosure) will receive their gifts on which days. For visitors coming out to watch on Saturdays, Friends of Spring River Zoo and other volunteers will be serving the public hot cocoa on Dec. 1 (beginning at 10 a.m.), Dec. 8 (noon), Dec. 15 (2 p.m.) and Dec. 22 (2:30 p.m.)

Saturday, Dec. 1 at 10:45 a.m. – longhorn, mountain lion, badger

Sunday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. – black bear, llama, raccoon

Monday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. – bobcat, aoudad sheep, gray fox

Tuesday, Dec. 4 at noon (Friends members only) – black bear, mountain lion, badger

Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 2 p.m. – coati, pronghorn, red fox

Thursday, Dec. 6 at noon – coyote, pony, lemur

Friday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. – goat, wolf, mule deer

Saturday, Dec. 8 at 12:15 p.m. – longhorn, black bear, badger

Sunday, Dec. 9 at 10 a.m. – mountain lion, muntjac deer, birds of prey

Monday, Dec. 10 at 4 p.m. – coyote, bison, lemur

Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. (Friends members only) – wolf, raccoon, coati

Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. – bobcat, coyote, gray fox

Thursday, Dec. 13 at noon – black bear, pronghorn, porcupine

Friday, Dec. 14 at 2 p.m. – mountain lion, wolf, red fox

Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. – raccoon, coati, lemur

Sunday, Dec. 16 at noon – black bear, aoudad sheep, gray fox

Monday, Dec. 17 at noon – wolf, mule deer porcupine

Tuesday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. (Friends members only) – bobcat, bison, longhorn

Wednesday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. – mountain lion, muntjac deer, goat

Thursday, Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. – coyote, pony, raccoon

Friday, Dec. 21 at noon – coati, pronghorn, red fox

Saturday, Dec. 22 at 2 p.m. – black bear, aoudad sheep, badger

Sunday, Dec. 23 at noon – coyote, llama, gray fox

Monday, Dec. 24 at 10 a.m. – bobcat, mule deer, lemur

Wednesday, Dec. 26 at 2 p.m. – mountain lion, wolf, lemur

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