Animals at the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa (NZGSA) in Pretoria woke up to delectable meals on Thursday.
In the spirit of Christmas, the Zoo is spoiling the creatures with edible Christmas gifts. They included leopard, wild dogs, penguins and Cape vultures.
Animals were presented with wrapped boxes containing a variety of foods ranging from meat and vegetables. First on the list was Diesel the leopard, it is estimated to be between 8 and 10 years old and was treated to two kilograms of chicken.
The only two wild dogs at the zoo were treated to 12 kilograms of beef, courtesy of the zoo’s conservator for carnivores, Nathaniel Taweni.
“We went to the leopard where we do some Christmas presents. It’s Christmas time, what we do today is to just get boxes, wrapped them and put some chicken inside.”
The feeding frenzy continued to the zoo’s 27 Cape Vultures. On the menu were bits of red meat, some pumpkin and watermelon for dessert.
Bird curator at the zoo, Sarah Shabangu says: “They were fed yesterday. So today is not meant for feeding it’s just for them to have items to play around with, interact with and have fun. We give them meat. They’re scavengers so they feed on carcasses in the wild, that’s their natural diet. So we try as much as we can to give them their natural diet.”
There was also something for the penguins; they were presented with sprigs of lavender for nesting. The scent of the aromatic plant helps to keep the nests clean and the penguins love it.
The Zoo’s Shameila Ebrahim says the feeding frenzy was to show appreciation to the animals.
“We invited you guys to the zoo today to see what we have in store for our animal friends. We also thought that they should be treated to a little Christmas gift, a little treat. They thoroughly enjoyed their gifts because it wasn’t for feeding; it was Christmas gifts because everyone deserves a Christmas gift. We’d like to give our animals a little treat because they deserve it.”
The Zoo will remain open throughout the festive seasons for those who would like to witness the creatures indulging on their favourite meal.