Photo in the News: Baby Elephant Eats Christmas Trees

Photo of elephant eating Christmas tree
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January 4, 2007—Holiday leftovers aren't just for humans. Elephant calf Thabo-Umasai at Germany's Zoo Dresden joined camels, deer, and sheep in a traditional new-year feast of Christmas trees yesterday.

"Elephants around the country will enjoy a delicious lunch today consisting of about five Christmas trees each," Ragnar Kuehne of Zoo Berlin told the Reuters news service on January 3 (Germany map).

Unlike the pie, pudding, and honeyed ham that may be haunting your fridge, though, pine trees' unique oils may actually help some animals' digestion, Kuehne said.

People too might benefit from a little bark—but not necessarily in their bites. Some doctors are touting supplements with a pine bark extract called Pycnogenol. Supporters claim the antioxidant compound can reduce asthma attacks, thin blood, improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and relieve symptoms of diabetes.

—Ted Chamberlain

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