Keele student studies Sumatran tigers
We are building a research relationship with Keele University and hope many more students will come on site to carry out various projects.
Keele student Mark Lightfoot has been keeping a close eye on Dudley Zoological Garden’s pair of Sumatran tigers as part of a research project.
The 21-year-old biology and psychology degree student has recently completed his study of three-year-old male Joao and four-year-old tigress Daseep.
Over several weeks, Mark spent a total of 60 hours observing the effectiveness of different enrichment techniques with the tigers.
Senior Keeper Sarah Evans said: “Mark spent half his time here watching how the tigers behaved without enrichment and the second part with two forms of enrichment.
“First we added a large plastic ball covered in Marmite into the enclosure and Daseep went straight for it. She licked off the Marmite and loved rolling the ball around.”
Then Mark asked for a hessian sack, filled with smelly used bedding from the Giraffe House, to be added to the enclosure.
Sarah added: “Again Daseep went for it first and pulled the bedding out everywhere.
“Then both tigers starting showing off a natural behaviour. They sniffed out the strange smell, rolled in the bedding and then marked it with their own scent.
“Mark will now use the information to compile his dissertation and is going to send us a copy. It will be interesting to read about his findings in more detail.”
DZG’s Registrar and Research Co-ordinator, Dr David Beeston, said: “We are building a research relationship with Keele University and hope many more students will come on site to carry out various projects.
“We look forward to welcoming Keele student Amy Smith over the summer who will be carrying out research on our colony of Humboldt penguins.”