Pupils make presents for Whipsnade’s animals!
Tuesday 18 July 2006
Otters, lemurs and giraffes will be among the animals at Whipsnade Wild Animal Park getting some new activity objects, hand-made by pupils of Kensworth Lower School.
The pupils of Oak Class have been enjoying lessons in how to enrich the lives of animals in captivity from Whipsnade keeper Penny Hounsome.
She gave talks to the children from the Common Road, Kensworth school about enrichment and how it relates to both animals - and humans. She then gave pointers on how to research and design suitable activities for animals in captivity.
The children worked extremely hard and, with the help of Penny and their teachers, made several pieces of equipment, for the animals.
These included: a diving platform for the otters; a ladder and table for climbing and sunbathing for the ring-tailed lemurs; hanging scented rings for the silvery marmosets; tubes with food and grass fillings for the giraffes plus bright, tactile platforms for the saki monkeys.
Keeper Penny said: “We are very grateful to the children at Kensworth Lower School and hope they enjoyed making the equipment as much as the animals will benefit from them.
“Enrichment gives the animals an opportunity to express a range of natural behaviours, benefiting them mentally, physically and socially.”
A group of 14 pupils, from years three and four, will be coming to Whipsnade on Tuesday July 18th to work closely with Penny, putting the equipment together and giving the animals the chance to actually use them. The visit will also be open to the rest of the school, which totals just 50 pupils.
Head teacher Anna Kentish said: “This activity has been really beneficial to the children. It provided a great starting point for us to do research on the internet about animals and the children went back and did more research at home.
“They have also used design and technology skills to make the various pieces of equipment for the animals.
“The children have really, really enjoyed it and are looking forward to seeing the objects they have made going into the animal enclosures.”
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Notes to editors
- Photographers are welcome to take pictures of the children with Penny on Tuesday July 18th. Please see separate photo call notice for more details.
- For the zoological community, enrichment is the word that describes the approaches and principles adopted to improve the wellbeing of the animals in our care, no matter whether they are furry, feathery or scaly.
- At Whipsnade Wild Animal Park there are hundreds of animals from dozens of species. Enrichment activities and surroundings are provided to encourage exploration and play, together with scented herbs and plants, all of which attempt to allow the animals to behave as they would in their natural surroundings.
- Founded in 1826, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity: our key role is the conservation of animals and their habitats. ZSL runs London Zoo and Whipsnade Wild Animal Park, carries out scientific research in the Institute of Zoology and is actively involved in field conservation in other countries worldwide. For further information please visit www.zsl.org
01582 871 303