Northampton shopping centre’s late Christmas gift to Woburn rhinos

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A present from a Northampton shopping centre has been delivered as a late Christmas gift to zoo animals.

The rhinoceroses at Woburn Safari Park are now enjoying a new bedding, made from over 120 trees that originally featured in Weston Favell shopping centre’s seasonal attraction - The Enchanted Forest Grotto.

The centre has donated all the cut trees from their Christmas centrepiece, which were chipped and delivered to the safari park.

The grotto consisted of 120 real life fir trees, grown especially for Weston Favell and is believed to be the first live forest created in an indoor shopping centre.

The Norway Spruce trees were chipped by a tree services and landscaping company, Mulberry Tree, who visited the safari park along with the centre’s staff to help deliver the wood chip.

After delivery, the Weston Favell team returned with a group of young boys from 55th Little Billing Scout Group to see how the rhinos were getting on with their new bedding.

Elaine Goodman, the assistant Cub leader, said: “The young members and the leaders had a great day out visiting the rhino enclosure, seeing them up-close and learning lots of interesting facts.

“They got to leave out their food pellet and were absolutely amazed to see what 120 trees from the grotto was turned into, and how it will be used.”

The remaining trees that were featured in the Enchanted Forest Grotto have been offered to the local community.

Nearly 400 people have now applied to get their hands on one and keep a bit of Christmas magic with them all year round.

Kevin Legg, Weston Favell Centre Manager said, “We take being an integral part of the community seriously and wanted the grotto’s trees to be put to good use and to help the rhino enclosure at Woburn Safari Park was too good to miss.

“We also want to thank all of our shoppers who registered to rehome the potted trees; it has been so well supported that we are confident we will be able to give all the trees a new home very soon.”