Outreaching and Celebrating the Chinese Year of the Tiger

March 3, 2010 § Leave a comment


Outreaching!

 The Education Department’s Outreach Team and their Wildbus are fully functional with an increasingly busy diary. After worries the snow would slow the team down they are now working at full pelt planning Wildbus visits to the Highlands and Islands as well as the Borders and just about anywhere in between they’ve not already managed!

The Wildbus began late last summer as part of the RZSS centenary charged with the task of reaching 100 schools across Scotland in their double decker bus with rainforest lessons, including live animal handling and educational games to explore the rainforest and problems facing it! Many schools come to Edinburgh Zoo or the Highland Wildlife Park again and again for educational lessons and the Wildbus team aims to reach schools that either haven’t heard of us or are too far away to visit.

So far the bus has made it to 61 schools reaching a total of 3322 pupils! Most recently the team were in Dundee and in the near future are set to visit schools in Clackmannanshire, the West Coast and Borders areas, as well as far flung stints to Lewis, Skye even Shetland and such!

The boys were busy this week making sure the bus was in top nick before its long slog through until summer when the project is due to end. Geoff and David were like kids at the fair with their pressure hoses and scrubbing brushes to get the bus gleaming!

Giving the bus a good clean!

The bus and its support vehicle have impressive wraps to make sure they don’t go unnoticed and you’ll see some familiar faces staring back at you with Liberius one of the Chimpanzees, Baabuu the Indian One Horned Rhino who is about to be leaving Edinburgh zoo for pastors new at Chester Zoo, and Yuri one of our Amur Tigers. Edinburgh locals may have spotted it on Morrison Street the other week at an event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Wildbus

Wildbus

Keep your eye on the zoo education pages for up and coming Outreach projects at: http://www.edinburghzoo.org.uk/education/schooleducation/outreach.html

For now we wish the Wildbus the best of luck, 61 schools down 39 to go!!

Chinese Festivals

In the past few weeks the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has been busy celebrating the Chinese New Year.  The zoo and Highland Wildlife Park celebrated Chinese New Year on 13th and 14th February.  The Chinese calendar is based on cycles of the moon, with the New Year celebrations starting on a new moon and ending 15 days later when the moon is full.  According to Chinese Tradition thousands of colourful lanterns should be hung out when there is a bright full moon so that it can be appreciated. This is the Chinese Lantern Festival which we celebrated last weekend with a range of crafts and activities to get involved in including Calligraphy workshops, Tai Chi demonstrations, lantern making, learning to use chopsticks and other Chinese crafts and displays on China and its culture.

Zoo Reception Decorated with Lanterns

As 2010 is the Chinese Year of the Tiger and the International Year of Biodiversity, we took this opportunity to highlight the importance of conserving our tigers, a species with has suffered a huge decline in biodiversity with nearly half of tiger sub-species becoming extinct in the wild since the 1930’s.  The main threats to these animals are deforestation and hunting for skins and parts for Traditional Chinese Medicines . The medicines have an important 3,000 year history but nowadays there are many alternative ingredients which can be used.  China has signed up to the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) agreement which bans the international trade of certain threatened species or their parts (including Tigers), but illegal poaching does still take place.  In order to raise awareness of the importance of conserving tigers we had displays and information boards on all 9 sub-species of tiger, a video of our Amur Tigers enjoying the snow at the Highland Wildlife Park and our daily carnivore talk concentrated on our Sumatran Tigers, Tibor and his sister Chandra.

Tibor, our Sumatran Tiger

A big thank you to everyone who came and took part in the activities and to everyone who helped out! We were supported by the Association of Scottish Philatelic Societies for Chinese New Year and for the Lantern Festival support came from Confucius Institute for Scotland, IMAP, Confucius Classroom hub at St. George’s School, Edinburgh and the Alba Cathay Chinese School.

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