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Tipton - Zoo animals wild about models

A sentence featuring the words "pupils" and "torn apart by lions" seems an unlikely summary of a successful field trip.

But pupils at the RSA Academy in Tipton have been creating model animals to be ripped apart and savaged by wild beasts as part of a new series of workshops run by Dudley Zoological Gardens.

Twelve of the independent school's pupils, aged between 11 and 17, spent six weeks creating model giraffes and zebras from cardboard boxes, wrapping paper and kitchen rolls. The models were then stuffed with food and left for the zoo's lions, tigers, lemurs and African hunting dogs to discover.

The aim was to encourage the captive animals to hunt and forage as they would in the wild. The pupils, meanwhile, learnt about animal welfare and behaviour.

Participant Joshua Parry, 12, has already decided that he wants to become a zookeeper.

"I want to learn lots about animals," he said.

And Peter Suddock, chief executive of the zoo, was pleased to discover that the project did not require a demonstration of his wildlife-taming skills. "The pupils who visited our zoo have all been extremely good and well-behaved," he said. AB.

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