Instead of tossing used Christmas trees to the curb this January, an Edmonton animal shelter is asking people to donate their holiday firs to help injured wildlife.

"They provide the animals with a place to hide, a place to perch, stash their food if they want to," said Holly Duvall with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton.


Holly Duvall says a used Christmas tree can provide shelter for an animal well into the summer months. (CBC News)

"Maybe makes them a little less stressed which helps. When they are less stressed they're less likely to re-injure themselves."

The shelter currently houses nearly 30 animals, which is more than usual for this time of year.

Many of them are recovering from serious injuries.

"A lot of these patients are a lot more critical than the summer animals that come in ... So it's a lot more intensive care that we're giving to the animals right now."

Duvall says the shelter does its best to provide as close as a natural environment as possible for the animals. But, she says that it can be hard to find enough trees - animals like Cecile, the shelter’s resident great horned owl, need more than one place to perch in their enclosure.

"In his pen we would fit up to 20 trees. So as many as we can get, we can put them all to good use."

Duvall says a tree donated in January can last the shelter well into the summer.