Student Tierney Chalmers has worked with bears, elephants and smaller animals at Woburn safari park and now wants to study an animal behaviour degree at university. As part of her application she has researched and presented an extended project on the specific diseases that poodles and labradoodles are susceptible to. This work, overseen by Mrs Annable, is equivalent to an AS Level and complements her A Levels in Business, Psychology and Maths.
Tierney, from Year 13, has been offered a conditional place at Exeter University. She said: ‘I just want to work with animals in some way. I have been researching this project since September and have learned a lot about genetic diseases and poodles. I was surprised by the amount of diseases that poodles are prone to. Unfortunately I had first hand experience as I had a labradoodle with Addison’s disease and a poodle with epilepsy.
‘I did a week’s work experience at Woburn and we made enrichment for the bears, fed the animals and had to do the cleaning out. For the bears’ enrichment activity we sprayed different scents onto brown sacks and found out which they liked the most. It turns out that they really liked flowery perfume and were rolling around on it!
‘There was everything from rhinos and lions to lemurs and meerkats, elephants and giraffes and we were able to get really close to the animals. I chose Exeter as it is a Russell Group university and I love the location of it. I want to do something animal related for my career, possibly working at a zoo. My favourite animals are elephants and I worked with them at Woburn. We took them on a walk; they walked really fast so basically you had to run to keep up and we cleaned out their enclosure and did enrichment activities for them as well, such as placing different foods in different locations. They are really intelligent animals and the baby elephant was very cute.’