Christmas has come early for three tiger brothers, after zookeepers at Whipsnade Zoo gave them festive gift-boxes to unwrap.
Three-year-old Amur tigers, Dmitri, Makari and Czar discovered the colourful Christmas presents, each sprayed with a different, intriguing scent, in their habitat at the UK’s largest Zoo.
The curious trio investigated the festive packages for several minutes before tearing them open and playing with the cardboard boxes and brightly-coloured paper.
Team leader Sarah Mcgregor said: “We knew that, like so many three-year-olds, the brothers would find the packaging so much more fun to play with than any present, so we decided to avoid unnecessary waste and just wrap up empty boxes. We were proved right!
"They absolutely loved ripping open their gift boxes and playing with the mess!
“Spraying the boxes with different scents, such as perfumes or catnip, made the gift boxes even more exciting for them and helped engage their natural instincts to sniff-out and investigate new things.”
Amur tigers are classified as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.
Thanks to the efforts of many conservation organisations, including ZSL’s Russian Far East programme, there is now a stable breeding population of Amur tigers at Lazovsky Zapovednik (State Nature Reserve).
Sarah added: "Hopefully the cubs will get lots of Boxing Day visits from families wanting to walk-off their Christmas dinner and enjoy the wide, open spaces of Whipsnade Zoo, and its breath-taking wildlife.”
Visitors can see the festive felines, as well as elephants, rhinos and 9500 other animals, throughout December, and enjoy a winter’s day out at Whipsnade Zoo. The conservation Zoo is open every day except Christmas Day. Tickets can be booked in advance at zsl.org.