Toys keep an­i­mals en­ter­tained

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Western Opinion - Lisa Thomas

STU­DENTS from Hale School have de­vel­oped fun ac­tiv­i­ties for an­i­mals at Caver­sham Wildlife Park to keep them en­gaged dur­ing shows.

The Year 9 STEM stu­dents cre­ated en­rich­ment toys and ac­tiv­i­ties for the an­i­mals to pro­vide stim­u­la­tion, al­le­vi­ate bore­dom and break up their daily rou­tine.

The two classes vis­ited the wildlife park last week to try out the en­rich­ment toys they had de­signed for the quolls, pos­sums, pigs, foxes and din­goes.

Stu­dent Johnathan Naughton said his group de­signed an ob­sta­cle course to test the quolls’ skills in a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent ways.

“If a quoll finds food lodged in a hole some­where in the wild, they need to use their claws to get it out,” he said.

“In our project there are holes drilled into a ro­tat­ing stump with food in and the quoll needs to nav­i­gate the branches to find these, sim­i­lar to what they might do in the wild.”

Classmate Ethan Batt and his group de­vised a spe­cial box that catered to pigs’ nat­u­ral in­stincts and senses.

“We cre­ated a sen­sory box for the pigs where they snuf­fle around and find treats,” he said.

“The box is de­signed for dig­ging or root­ing, which is a nat­u­ral at­tribute of pigs. The box has ma­te­ri­als at­tached to it de­signed for the pig’s sen­sory abil­i­ties, such as a bell and a brush.”

Hale School head of de­sign and tech­nolo­gies Haig Mcglashan said all of the projects were suc­cess­ful, with some more than oth­ers, but all would help im­prove the out­comes for the an­i­mals.

“Caver­sham Wildlife Park was re­ally ap­pre­cia­tive – the only en­rich­ment they have, they have to make them­selves; you can’t just go out and buy these things,” he said.

“A lot of STEM projects are based on the­ory, but this is a re­al­world prob­lem and these stu­dents had a crack at solv­ing it and did a good job.”

Stu­dents Os­car Comiskey (14), Kon­nah Holmes (14), Kai Pap­ineau (14) and Joshua Ed­wards-smith (14) with an­i­mal attendant Beth Mcglashan and com­mon brush­tail pos­sum Cad­bury.

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