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Students, Zoo Animals Complete Enrichment Project in Decatur
Students, Zoo Animals Complete Enrichment Project in Decatur

Animals at a central Illinois zoo got to play with unusual toys designed by a group of elementary school students.

The fifth graders from Cerro Gordo made animal enrichment toys as part of a science project led by two school teachers.

The students worked to build toys for wolves, meerkats, tamarins, camels and a macaw at the Scovill Zoo in Decatur.

Zoo Assistant Director Ken Frye said that the students were enthralled with the wolves.

“She just kind of took the box and ran and the other (wolf) was running after her. She was just ripping and digging and diving in, trying to find out what was in the box. So for her, it was a challenge, one, to get to it first, and two, the other wolf to see what he could get.”

They researched what toys might interest the various animals and worked in teams to build their creations. On Thursday, they went to the zoo to watch as the animals sniffed, batted, ate and played with the projects that were designed to give the creatures physical and mental stimulation.

The students were able to collect data for their research projects while watching the animals interact with the toys.