Sparsholt College has won a prestigious industry award from BIAZA (British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria) for its ground breaking work with the Highland Streaked Tenrec. The Bronze Award for animal breeding, care and welfare was collected by the College’s Animal Management Instructor Katie Cummins during an award ceremony at Woburn Safari Park.

Chris Mitchell, Animal Management Centre Manager said: “We have housed the species for three years and in that time have had success with breeding, animal husbandry techniques and the nutrition of this challenging species. This work has involved a great deal of dedicated effort by the mammal team, eagerly aided and abetted by animal management learners who have been afforded a unique opportunity to work with animals very rarely kept in captivity.”

At Sparsholt there are a total of five Tenrec species, Lowland and Highland Streaked alongside three other species of Tenrec, the Tailless or Giant Tenrec, Lesser Hedgehog Tenrec and the Greater Hedgehog Tenrec, this far exceeds any zoological collection outside of Madagascar.

Chris Mitchell continues: “In recent years the College has become widely recognised and much-admired for its work with Tenrec amongst the wider zoological community. There is still an enormous amount to find out and staff, students of all levels are committed to further developing husbandry techniques as well as to continue studying these creatures to further the scientific understanding of their biology.”

The Highland Streaked Tenrec, a small mammal covered in spines from East Madagascar is a terrestrial insectivore feeding mainly on worms and living in colonies on the forest floor and in the paddy fields. They are black with cream/yellow streaks with a long shrew like nose used for searching for worms. There are many interesting adaptations of the Streaked Tenrec, uniquely they have a ‘stridulating’ organ used for communication, short hard spines in the middle of their back rub together to produce a clicking sound.

For further information on Animal Management courses please click here