Ritchie the tiger, Rochester Institute of Technology’s mascot, is about to have a little more company. During a student trip to the Seneca Park Zoo Feb. 9, the university adopted the zoo’s two Amur tigers, Anastasia and Katya.
The zoo trip gave students a chance to explore the Rochester zoo and join Anastasia and Katya as RIT becomes ZooParents at the Conservation Steward Level with a donation of $300. All proceeds from the student zoo trip, hosted by RIT’s College Activities Board, went directly toward important animal enrichment items, like balls, ropes and treats.
The idea for the zoo trip and adoption came from Tom Hart, a third-year environmental science student from Goffstown, N.H., who completed an internship with the Seneca Park Zoo in fall 2012.
“I wanted to create a new trip for busy college students who may not have visited this great zoo that is surprisingly close to campus,” says Hart, who is also an event manager for RIT’s College Activities Board. “Plus, we are the RIT Tigers so adopting Anastasia and Katya to benefit the zoo is a win-win.”
Before the tigers were brought in for the presentation, students were invited into the exhibit to build a snowman. After spraying perfume on the snowman and exiting the exhibit, the tigers came out to attack and roll around in the snowman’s remains.
“Raising awareness for RIT students about one of the many cultural offerings in the Greater Rochester community, while also exposing them to the conservation needs of these highly endangered cats, is an important aspect of the growth of these young adults into active and productive members of their community,” says Larry Sorel, County Zoo Director.