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Recycled sheets, blankets to entertain zoo animals

By ZHOU WENTING in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-24 09:53
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Shanghai Zoo started to collect donated bed sheets, bed covers and blankets from residents over the weekend to promote recycling and benefit its animals.

The zoo said the collected materials will be used to provide animals with creative outlets for physical activity and mental exercise.

The donation drive encouraged the public to participate in wild animal protection while also putting the low-carbon concept into practice by reducing waste generation, said the zoo, which will celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding this year.

"We'll try to make the best use of the donated materials to make animals' lives here more comfortable and happier while contributing to environmental preservation," said Wang Jinjie, an animal keeper at the zoo.

"With the principle of respecting animals' natural habits, we'll create various toys and decorate homes for them. For example, making puzzle feeders that encourage animals to forage for food, climbing structures that enhance habitats, and training sessions where animals can interact with keepers."

Some scrapped tires donated to the zoo last year by an automobile sales service shop have been transformed into a toy for elephants.

Asian elephants are somewhat destructive and need big strong toys, Wang said. The animal keepers made a set of "tumblers" with two tree trunks and two large tires. After digging two pits in the ground, they buried the tires and inserted the trunks into the tires.

"When an elephant hits a tree trunk, it'll shake but won't fall over, making it interesting to the elephants," she said. "Also, a bell is tied between the two tumblers, and it vibrates when the elephant hits the trunk. This creates a higher level of sensory enrichment."

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