One-eyed camel at local safari park celebrates birthday with local children

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Wednesday the one-eye Bactrian camel and friends with their party guests. Image: Widgit
Wednesday the one-eye Bactrian camel and friends with their party guests. Image: Widgit

A one-eyed camel has been helping children with special educational needs (SEN), as part of their birthday celebrations at the nearby Woburn Safari Park

Wednesday the one-eye Bactrian camel, invited students from Windmill Hill School a Bedfordhsire-based special education needs (SEND) school to the celebrations earlier this month (2 May).

The students had the opportunity to prepare carrots for the camels to eat and enjoyed learning about the camels’ unique personalities, habitats and food preferences. 

The party also marked the launch of a new range of visual aids, supported by communication experts Widgit, that will help visitors with SEN get the most of their visit to the park.

New communication tools

According to Widgit, up to 14 million people in the UK (20% of the population) experience communication difficulties at some point in their lives.

If information, signage and instructions are unclear and in hard-to-read writing then days out can become stressful and overwhelming for children with extra needs and their parents.

To prevent this, Woburn Safari Park’s new communication tools have been created for autistic children and their families to make visiting the park a much more relaxed experience.

These include information about the animals, food options, and leisure activities.

Guides also use picture symbols which are now on hand for pre-verbal children and those with limited vocabulary to indicate what they like and dislike just by pointing to the relevant symbol.

They can share whether they want to get close to an animal or not.

Windmill Hill School students at Woburn Safari Park. Image: Widgit
Windmill Hill School students at Woburn Safari Park. Image: Widgit

They support neurodiverse people in sharing their preferences, interests, and needs, helping to foster a calmer and more enjoyable environment when visiting.

Natasha Kyle, head of education at Woburn Safari Park, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to see the students spending time with the camels.

“The new communication tools will improve inclusion and accessibility as well as educate and inspire visitors about the importance of wildlife conservation.

“We’re looking forward to sharing them with every young person who comes to our safari park.”

Rebecca Lynch, education specialist at Widgit, added, “We are proud to welcome Woburn Safari Park as the first official symbol-friendly safari park in the UK. 

“The benefits of connecting with nature and animals are proven. You could see the joy in the children’s faces at the camel’s birthday party. It is great that more families in Bedfordshire and beyond can enjoy a fun, inspiring and memorable day out.”