DIY expert needed to help make toys for our tigers

Posted by Lawrence B.


Yaverland, Isle of Wight

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Due date
Friday, Jul 30th 2021

DETAILS Who we are: We’re The Wildheart Trust, a wildlife charity that provides funding and support for tiger conservation programmes in India. In the UK, our Wildheart Animal Sanctuary, based on the Isle of Wight, provides forever homes for big cats and other exotic animals which have been rescued from circuses or the pet trade. In recent years we’ve rescued or re-homed six tigers, four lions and three Eurasian lynx and we’re working hard to make sure they have a good quality of life that’s as fun and rewarding as possible. And that’s where you come in! What we need done: We’re looking for someone to help us create and design toys for our tigers that stimulate their key senses and challenge them physically and mentally. These are no ordinary toys. Far from soft and fluffy, our tiger toys need to be robust and well-built so they can’t be destroyed in a matter of minutes. They should either be: Food toys - where we can insert a treat and our tigers have to work out how to get the food – tigers are very intelligent and love a problem-solving challenge! Behavioural enrichment - toys that stimulate our tigers’ natural wild instincts Ideally made of wood, old crates, fire hose, garage springs, heavy-duty hessian or bungee cord; these are hardcore, supersized versions of what you might see a domestic cat play with. We need someone with great DiY skills, carpentry experience and a knack for turning scrap and junk into something great. But don’t worry if you’re not so great on the tools - we’re also open to finding someone with ideas for what the toys could be, so let us know if you’ve got any awesome ideas! We’ll need you to come down to the Isle of Wight and take a brief, meet the keepers and then work with us on the prototype designs before bringing them to the Sanctuary and delivering them to the tigers to play with. We’re offering £500 to develop the designs and we also have a budget to pay for materials and travel, although we’re hoping that you may have old scraps lying around at home that you can turn into something amazing! Why we need it done: In the wild, tigers experience new sensations all the time so we introduce as many as we can and enrichment is a way of stimulating them. For example we know they are attracted by texture and they love lavender scent, so we need to create toys that keep their minds busy and appeal to their senses! So tell us why you’d be the best person for this job, and what skills or experience could make you our chief toymaker!?


Hi Lawrence, I would be very interested in working with a local charity on a project that involves my hobby of woodwork. I would want to get my family and friends involved (all islanders!) in the design and they would all want to follow up with visits to the zoo. I don’t do projects for commercial opportunities, only helping others and the community (e.g. local pre-school climbing frame and other items) so that I can hone my skills. I did complete some bird boxes for the Wildheart Trust a few years ago which I check out each time! I have a wide selection of tools so can do most things wood related.


Hi Lawrence, I am very local to the zoo and would like to help you out with this project. Please can you get in touch with me to see what I can do. Thanks, Al

Hi Lawrence, I'd be very interested in doing this for you. Do you know how many items you'd like and by when?

Ideally we are looking for one or two toys for this summer. As mentioned in my post, we would be looking to bring someone down to work collaboratively with us on a brief and meet the tigers.

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