Year 11 biology students from Trinity Catholic College were recently set a challenge to entertain a very specific audience.
Meerkats, cheetahs and otters were presented with a variety of toys designed by the students.
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Biology teacher Belinda McLean said students were required to complete a depth study each year.
"This year we focused on different animal and plant behavioural adaptations, which is why I decided to organise the excursion to the zoo," Ms McLean said.
Students were set with an inquiry-based question to find out what would stimulate the animals' senses using recyclable and non-dangerous materials.
The toys were then tested at the Australian National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra on Wednesday, June 22.
It's the first time the zoo and Trinity Catholic College have run this type of excursion.
One of the most successful toys was a cardboard zebra sprayed with Calvin Klein's 'Obsession for Men'.
"After some background research the students discovered that cheetahs love Calvin Klein's 'Obsession'," Ms McLean said.
"Once the zebra was put into the closure, the cheetahs ripped it apart within 5 minutes."
Biology students Lillian Turgeon and Stella Manning described the excursion as "fun" and "interesting".
"It was really interesting to see how the animals interacted with the toys," Lillian said.
Both students designed toys for the meerkats, Lillian designed a box full of rocks and sawdust with a doormat that extended out which was sprayed with lime and lemongrass essential oils. Stella designed a type of puzzle using tennis balls scented with rosemary and mint.
"It took us a few weeks to design the toys, the planning was definitely the most time-consuming part," Stella said.
"On the day we also got to feed emus and deers, it was really good."
Students also had the opportunity to see enrichment toys designed by the zookeepers and witness new designs trialled with different animals including tigers and bears.
While this was the first year the excursion has run, it won't be the last.
"It's been talked about a lot within the Trinity community as a very successful excursion," Ms McLean said.
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