Jungle boys on school safari

Students with giraffes.

When teacher Rohit Prasad was given an invitation for some of his students to join a unique wildlife program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, the boys didn't hesitate in showing their enthusiasm.

Waiting at the school car park with their permission notes waving in the air as Mr Prasad drove up, the students from Canterbury Boys High hoped to be among the first 40 from inner Sydney schools who would attend the Endanger Ranger program, which included a zoo sleepover and close encounters with reptiles, African rhinos and apes.

Endanger Ranger was launched last year by the NSW Government to give 3,300 Year 8 students from Sydney access to conservation education using zoos around NSW.

As part of the program, students would be introduced to life skills including leadership, group work, citizenship and sustainable practices and loads of animals.

Canterbury Boys High was the first school from inner Sydney to take part in the program. Over the past 16 months 2,235 students and 234 teachers have undertaken the wildlife studies at the zoo.

Mr Prasad, the school's Year 8 adviser, said Endanger Ranger gave the boys an opportunity to broaden their understanding of the great outdoors and experience a little more of life beyond their local area.

"We had boys coming up asking if the tents had air conditioning.  It shows how much they don't know - something as small as that shows just how valuable this program is."

Canterbury Boys High principal David Hill said it was a "fabulous learning opportunity" for the students.

Photo: Canterbury Boys High students get serious about conservation. Photo by Ben Gibson.

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