OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Nebraska zoo is accepting discarded Christmas trees to use as toys for its animals.

The Omaha World-Herald reports that the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium annually collects and shreds unwanted trees. But this year, zoo staff is keeping a few to entertain elephants, bears, big cats and more.

The Omaha zoo says all decorations should be removed before a tree is turned in and the trees shouldn't be treated with chemical preventatives or decorative sprays. Trees that are considered unfit for animals will be recycled.

Dan Cassidy is the zoo's vice president of animal management. He says trees have helped deter violent behaviors among animals like bull elks.

The zoo says it'll collect trees until Jan. 8.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com