The Zoo project, which is part of the10% community engagement programme, offered students the opportunity to participate in the lives of the animal community and their keepers, at the Johannesburg zoo.
They had to reorient their skills and knowledge to solve problems outside the ambit of the commercial and industrial domain in sites that rarely benefit from the work of professional designers.
The Zoo enrichment project can be described as a transformation and implementation of enrichment toys and interventions for zoo animals.
The students were asked to design a therapeutic, behavioral and enrichment toy /object /product for a selected group of zoo animals, which were in dire need of stimulation.
Four groups (+ – ten students per group) had been given a chance to design and produce objects to be used in the zoo enclosures of these selected animals;
Andean condors, spectacled bears, ring-tailed lemurs, de brazza monkeys and giraffes.
The individual groups then had to find their own sponsors to implement their new designs to stimulate the animals, and to encourage them to be more active.
Their designs and talents contributed to the development of the zoo. We would like to continue this programme in the future,as part of an ongoing project and involvement with the zoo community.
Description of the community:
Johannesburg zoo is a site that hardly ever benefit from the work of professional designers. The zoo is constantly looking for sponsorships, which will make it possible for them to buy enrichment toys, build structures or new enclosures for the zoo animals.
When wild animals are kept in enclosed and artificial spaces it leads to behavioral problems, they then have a tendency to be very bored and frustrated. Every species of animal requires enrichment that is adapted to their particular behavioral characteristics.
Who was the community:
The selected animals from the JHB zoo: Andean condors, spectacled bears, ring-tailed lemurs, de brazza monkeys and giraffes.
What was the design problem:
Design a therapeutic, behavioral and enrichment toy or product for a selected group of zoo animals or an individual animal.
What was the design solution:
The students designed structures for their chosen animals, which provide them with one or more of the following stimulation and enrichment:
- Food based enrichment,
- Physical enrichment,
- Sensory enrichment,
- Novel enrichment and
- Cognitive enrichment.