Marwell's Zany Zebras Outreach Visit
On Monday 7 March, our Essential Skills students had their outreach session with Laura Pratt, Marwell Education Ranger, as part of Marwell's Zany Zebras project.
As part of the visit, students were part of an investigation, looking at a Kenyan animal 'crime' scene in which the students had to discover what type of zebra had been killed and which predator had instigated the attack.
Students studied paw prints, predator sounds and even animal poo in their task, undertaking work just like the rangers based in Kenyan conservation land. The students also got to see real zebra skin, donated to Marwell Zoo by airport customs departments.
The skin belonged to a plains zebra, also the victim of the crime scene. With the help of Laura, Rose Fudio, their Essential Skills teacher and Christine Barnes, a Learning Support Assistant, the students correctly identified a lion as the perpetrator of the attack.
As well as honing their investigative and scientific skills, students also learnt a lot about the Grevy's zebra and the relationship between predators and prey in nature. Laura explained how much of conservation work involved keeping the right balance between predators and prey. It also involves ensuring all the things which Grevy's zebras need to survive, such as habitat and water resources, were protected.
Our students had lots of questions for Laura about her work in Kenya, conservation and the status of other animals, such as lions and cheetahs, who are also vulnerable or endangered. They also learnt key facts about the Grevy's zebras, including:
- Each zebras' stripes are unique like our fingerprints
- Grevy's zebras can go up to five days without water
- The Grevy's zebra species is protected in the wild, unlike the plains zebras which are much more common and widespread
Soon our own zebra sculpture, 'Abracazebra', will be painted by our students. We can't wait to see the final results in May of this fantastic conservation and community project.