Macy Moyers wanted to do something special for her final week as a summer intern at the Great Bend Brit Spaugh Zoo. She created a large cardboard animal and on Wednesday zookeepers placed it in the enclosure of Sunny, the Bengal tiger.
“Sunny LOVES ripping up cardboard boxes,” keeper Ashley Burdick explained. But he’s never seen anything like the cardboard structure that awaited him Wednesday. Its body was a box big enough for the tiger to crawl inside. That box stood on cardboard legs and a smaller box served as the head, decorated with a face.
If that wasn’t enough to pique a tiger’s interest, the keepers put some raw pork chops inside the cardboard creature and doused it with Sunny’s favorite perfume: Volatile.
The keepers said people donate bottles of Volatile, and Sunny loves to rub his head on boxes where they spray the scent.
Earlier this year, Zoo Supervisor Sara Hamilin commented that Sunny likes to stay inside on hot summer days. He has access to an indoor pool and air conditioning set to 75 degrees.
“He does not like the heat at all,” Hamlin said. Sunny will turn 19 years old in September and that makes him an elderly tiger. “He’s in the phase of his life that he gets to have anything he wants.”
The public has enjoyed the recent cooler weather, and so have the animals. Several people stopped outside Sunny’s enclose on Wednesday to watch him play with his new toy. Dr. Jackie Corbett, a Great Bend veterinarian who assists with the animal care at the zoo, watched and approved of the activity.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Corbett said. Keeping the animals active and engaged is as important as providing food and shelter, and Corbett said the activity was “good enrichment for Sunny.”
Moyers was also pleased with the successful activity. As her internship winds down, she is preparing to return to Fort Hays State University where she is studying veterinary science.