It’s become very apparent during our work with schools that neither the kids nor the teachers at the majority of schools have any idea what a wild dog even looks like. We can and do of course show them photos, and as our program continues to develop we will be taking DVDs into the schools and communities to help educate people on a variety of different things, obviously including wild dogs!
But as an extra prop, I got the crazy idea to try and make life sized models of wild dogs…. I’ve been regretting that spell of wisdom ever since (:)) but nonetheless have progressed with the idea and they are starting to take shape.
They started with a wire frame, made by some of the workshop guys at a neighboring ranch (thanks Sango!), which we then needed to stuff:
Given that I have about as much artistic talent as a two year old, I roped in friends Cathy, Nicky and Michelle to help and soon the stuffing was well underway.
The next step was to try and give the legs some shape, for which we ended up using green and black bin bags stuffed with paper, and eventually had two (somewhat dodgy looking) stuffed wild dogs!
The first layer of paper mache went on next, and that’s the stage we are at. A couple more layers of paper and then they will be painted as realistically as possible, and will hopefully end up looking something like wild dogs! Fortunately my wonderful friend and amazing artist Lin Barrie has agreed to paint them, which makes that a bit more likely :).
I’ll post photos of the final outcome when they are finished. They will have their stage debut at a big education and wild dog awareness day we are hosting in Harare in early August, and obviously I will let you know how that goes nearer the time as well.
Such are things we conservation biologists get to do on our weekends!