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How to recycle Christmas trees for big cats in North Carolina

Tiger World is accepting real Christmas trees to give their lions and tigers a treat.

ROCKWELL, N.C. — It’s a new year and you’re probably getting ready to throw away those Christmas decorations and your tree. The issue for many who bought a real tree is what to do with it once you’re done.

If you’re thinking about throwing that Christmas Tree on the side of the road, you should wait, because there is another option: dropping off your tree at Tiger World and getting free admission for each tree.

Tiger World is a big cat sanctuary located in Rockwell, North Carolina. It's a conservation and preservation site that houses different species, like lions and tigers, along with primates. Over 54 different species are represented at Lion World, including 14 endangered animals.

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One of the big cats named Tanner especially loves the once-a-year treat. 

“Once you give him enrichment like these Christmas trees he really just comes out of his shell and kind of just melts into a kitten-like behavior," said Aubrey Taylor, the director of wildlife at Tiger World.

The animals at Tiger World can't go back into the wild, but they're in good hands in Rockwell. It also helps that they get treats just like those old Christmas trees, which could show just why your domestic house cat loves getting into a mess with them.

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If you would like to donate a tree there are some restrictions: the tree must be chemical-free and natural. Ornaments, flocking, and tinsel also can't come with it.

Tiger World is accepting trees until Jan.16. You can find more information on how to recycle your tree on their website.

Contact Shamarria Morrison at smorrison@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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