Outreach programs brings fennec fox into Animal Behavior classroom

Natalie O'Dell, Business manager

In an attempt to bring real-life animal experience, High School Science Teacher Nicole Roberts contacted the Endangered Wolf Sanctuary’s outreach program in April.  About a month later, an educator headed down from Eureka with animal pelts, a planned slideshow, and a fennec fox, a small fox species native to the Sahara desert.

Before unveiling the fox, the educator presented about the various endangered canine species housed at the sanctuary.  She spoke in detail about the behavior or the species, the individuals at the sanctuary , the threats the different species faced, and the action being taken to keep them from extinction.  Although it is unlikely that fennec foxes are endangered, the other residents at the sanctuary belong to species in danger of being wiped out, like the critically endangered African wild dog and red wolf.  The fox served as an ambassador for all canines.

The unveiling of the fennec fox was surprising for some, as the fox was often shy and the educators from the endangered wolf center warned that it might be replaced with an opossum.

Roberts believes her students benefited from the experience of having a real animal to assist the lesson.  “I think it focuses everybody’s attention on the fact that it’s not something that’s just out in the wild that they haven’t seen or at the zoo in a cage, but it’s something that actually comes into their classroom. I just think it makes everybody aware of the animal,” said Roberts.

Natalie O’Dell
Sophomore Kit Daugherty watches the fennec fox in adoration. “Some kids have a tendency to lose interest if it’s just a slideshow, but I think actually having the live animal there really captured people’s attention, and they were really focused on what she [the educator] was saying, and the information, and what they need to know about these animals,” said Daugherty.