AS the nation starts thinking about their festive food shopping and preparing a feast for their families, zookeepers at Drusillas Park are writing up a shopping list for a much healthier Christmas dinner.

Whilst we are tucking into our Christmas dinners and stuffing our faces with all manner of naughty treats, Zookeepers at Drusillas will be prepping mountains of fresh veg and serving up the healthiest of Christmas dinners.

Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, said: “Diets tend to go out of the window at Christmas and everyone tucks into a few more treats that normal, which I think absolutely everyone is guilty of! But it’s important that our animals don’t follow the same trend.”

“Being overweight is dangerous for animals and feeding them the wrong foods can affect their health just as badly as it does ours. All of the animals at Drusillas follow very careful measured and monitored diets to ensure they are at their optimum weight and peak physical fitness at all times. We work around the clock to ensure our animals are happy and healthy; and diet and nutrition sit at the core of this.”

“Obese animals can face consequences such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, kidney disease, cancer, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease and much more. It is really important that we look after our animals’ diets in the same way we do our own. There are lots of pet owners out there who adore their animals, so we are just highlighting the importance of monitoring their diet and making sure that if we are being a bit more lax with our diets, we aren’t doing the same to our animals. The excuse ‘oh but it’s Christmas simply doesn’t apply to animals.”

Drusillas Zookeepers Christmas shopping list currently includes: 36kg beetroot, 18kg broccoli, 30kg large carrots, 6 large cauliflower, 12 cabbages, 12 bunches celery, 15kg swiss chard, 15kg chicory, 15kg courgettes, 42 cumbers, 15kg curly kale, 50 kg

fine green beans, 15 kg leeks, 15kg pak choi, 36 bunches of spring onions, 20kg of sweet potato and much more!

Zoo Animal Manager, Mark Kenward, said: “Now if that’s not a healthy list of Christmas treats I don’t know what is! Our animals love a feast of fresh veg, so for them it makes an ideal Christmas menu.”