Bexleyheath student causes a stir with elephant toy design at Southbank

News Shopper: Marie Yates previously attended Townley Grammar School Marie Yates previously attended Townley Grammar School

A Bexleyheath design whizz has created a toy to prevent captive elephants getting bored.

Industrial design student Marie Yates, of Woolwich Road, made the super-strong feeding toy to give the animals a challenge as many of those in captivity miss the excitement of finding food in the wild.

The 23-year-old used to attend Townley Grammar School in Bexleyheath but is about to graduate from Brunel University.

Her popular design was selected for a prestigious exhibition on London’s Southbank earlier this month as part of an exhibition in Oxo Tower Wharf.

She said: "In the wild elephants spend much of their waking hours foraging for food. But in captivity, as they are fed by their keepers, they spend a fraction of the time.

"Bored elephants can end up with all kinds of behavioural problems. And it’s a serious issue as it can affect their physical health.

"I designed a feeding toy which makes them work and think for the food inside which also had to be immensely tough. Elephants are not just very clever but very, very strong."

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